FORMER YMCA Chief Executive Ian Green passed the biggest test to become new Chair of Advance, by being named as first choice by the customers the charitable organisation serves.
Ian was interviewed by a representative panel of service users and staff, as well as the board and directors of Advance, which supports people with disabilities or mental health conditions to live the lives they choose in the community.
"Customers come first at Advance, which also ensures their voice is heard in shaping and developing services.
"That's absolutely crucial and certainly evident in the interview process, which I was delighted to see," reports Ian, who also has a wealth of experience in local government, education and governance.
National organisation Advance, based in PM David Cameron's constituency of Witney, is unique in delivering three core services of housing, social care and employment.
Ian, 47, joins the 39 year-old organisation after 26 years with the YMCA, including five years as Chief Executive.
He left earlier this year to concentrate on his wide-ranging non-executive roles in the health, housing and social care sectors, which include Non-Executive Director of Wandle Housing Association, Lay Member of West Hampshire Clinical Commissioning Group, and member of the governing body of the University Hospital, Southampton.
"Ian's vast experience, and passion for ensuring society values and supports vulnerable people, made him the perfect first choice for the important role of Chair. We're delighted to have him with us," says CEO Tim Cooper.
Departing Chair Helen Baker, who held the role for seven years and won Chair of the Year in the 2011 Third Sector Awards, says she is sad to leave but delighted with Advance's choice.
"Advance has managed to stay on the front foot and develop across a period of exceptional change and challenge, whilst staying true to its core purpose and values.
"I will very much miss all the colleagues and customers I have been privileged to work with, but I am extremely confident that Advance will continue to thrive under Ian's leadership."
Ian, who lives in Hampshire with his partner Paul and their two labradors, reveals that Advance has already made a big impression.
"The initial motivation behind any application comes from the head, as you consider whether you can add value. But I am already beginning to love this organisation. I will retain my objectivity of course, but Advance is very special," he admits.
"One of the reasons I was attracted to Advance was that, despite the tough economic times, it is nor resting on its laurels but has an ambitious growth strategy. It is very exciting.
"I hope I can help harness Advance's ambitious plans and turn them into an achievable delivery strategy."
NOTES TO EDITORS
1. Ian Green is available for interview. To make arrangements, and for further information, please contact Communications Manager John Kay on 01993 772885, mobile 07730 496093 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Or you can contact Lynne Powell email@example.com
2. Advance is a 39 year-old national charitable organisation, based in Witney in Oxfordshire.
3. Advance helps people of all ages with disabilities or mental health conditions live the lives they choose - at home, at work or in the community.
4. Advance customers helped to produce the innovate 2013 How to Complain DVD. You can view the film at www.advanceuk.org