International Women’s Day with our CEO Gail Gibbons

International Women’s Day with our CEO Gail Gibbons

Tash Bright No Comment

On International Women’s Day, 8th March, we wanted to introduce you to our Chief Executive Officer, Gail Gibbons. Gail became CEO of Sheffield Futures in 2014 after over twenty years working in the public sector in both children and young people’s services, and mental health. She qualified as a social worker in 1995 and since then has worked in a range of social work positions in local government, before taking up roles across strategy, policy and commissioning in both local government and health.

Gail says: “The best thing about my job is the variety. Every day is different and you never know what’s going to happen. Although I would say that even better than that, is that even though I have been doing this job for many years, I still feel passionately about the making a positive difference to the people who use our services. It’s great to hear about when young people have gone on to do something really positive or that Sheffield Futures have made a real difference to someone’s life.”

Gail is involved in a wide range of local and regional partnerships, and is passionate about improving outcomes for young people and ensuring the voice of young people is heard. This commitment to a better future for the city’s young people extends to chairing the Sheffield Inclusion Centre’s Management Committee as she feels strongly about effectively meeting the needs of excluded pupils and sits on a wide range of multi-agency partnership boards – including the Safer and Sustainable Communities Partnership Board as the third sector rep, and the Sheffield Safeguarding Children Board..

In addition to this, Gail is also a Board Member of the Sheffield Business Improvement District (BID). This is a role she is excited about, as it is very different from her other board commitments. The BID’s objectives are to work together for a busier, cleaner, safer city centre that is easier to access and navigate for the benefit of us all. Gail says: “Increasingly I think it’s important that Sheffield Futures, statutory services and private business work together to achieve common aims.”

Under Gail’s leadership, Sheffield Futures is evolving and all services are designed to meet our four goals:

  • Improving social skills, life skills and independence
  • Enabling community participation and belonging
  • Meaningful progression in to education, employment and training
  • Improving health and wellbeing

Gail says: “Over the next five years, everything we do will be to achieve one of those goals, We recognise that young people’s needs are changing and we need to be ever changing too to meet that demand.

We are still Sheffield focussed, but increasingly we are working regionally and sometimes nationally, and we want to continue and strengthen this work”

This brings us to our final question. It wouldn’t be a blog for International Women’s Day if we didn’t ask which females inspire Gail the most and why? See if you can identify the theme between them all!

Gail says: “Maxine Peake is definitely someone I really admire because she’s a fantastic actor but she’s also very committed to particular causes. Her life has been interesting, from growing up with political left-leaning parents to taking on interesting acting projects that are not necessarily big blockbusters. She speaks a lot of sense about many things, not to mention the fact that she’s a fantastic actor.

“The other person that springs to mind is Vivienne Westwood. I don’t like everything she says but I like her because she speaks her mind and I love her clothes. She has backed causes I feel strongly about, including anti-plastic and other environmental issues. I really admire her.

“I’m fascinated by Wayne and Geraldine Hemmingway. They both live through feminist and ethical principles and together they have done some amazing things, not only in the fashion world (with Red or Dead) but now they have moved in to sustainable housing and sustainable living with the Festival of Thrift and Festival of Making.

“I’m currently reading a biography about Eleanor Marx, who is absolutely fascinating in terms of being one of the first political feminists. She lived a hugely interesting life and was very influential in lots of strike action and political change, particularly in connecting women’s issues with worker’s issues. She was not afraid to speak out despite criticism… Again, she was a very strong and principled woman. What a fantastic collection, wouldn’t it be great to have a dinner party with them?”

How you can help

Our charity is dedicated to helping Sheffield's young people to reach their full potential and achieve the best out of life, whatever their starting point. To help us to do more to support young people and communities we need your help. Just remember, every penny you donate will make a difference.