Our Trustees

Board of Trustees

Our Board of Trustees are an extraordinary group of volunteers who provide strategic leadership and governance. They meet regularly to discuss, decide and review our strategies and policies and receive reports and updates from our senior management team. They ensure that we comply with all of the required legal and regulatory requirements. Our trustees have a vast range of expertise to bring to the table from housing, to mental health, to academia. They also work to ensure that we’re doing all we can to end violence against women and girls, domestic abuse and sexual violence.

Good governance is about delivering the charity’s purpose as effectively as possible, and understanding the need the charity is meeting. It’s about demonstrating leadership, integrity, accountability and sound judgement. Our Trustee’s work is underpinned by the Nolan Principles of Public Life: selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and leadership.

Our board of trustees

  • Hold the organisation firmly to its guiding values and principles
  • Drive forward the impact of CWA with an entrepreneurial spirit
  • Are sensitive to the pressures of short term issues and yet take account of long term trends
  • Are knowledgeable about local and national issues, and also are aware of potential or wider influences
  • Are focused on the different and various needs of the service users whilst acting responsibility towards employees, partners and the community
Rachel Minto

Rachel Minto

Chair

Rachel Minto is a feminist academic with a particular interest in gender equality governance at the EU, state and devolved levels.  She holds a PhD in Politics from the University of Bristol.  She is currently researching and teaching at Cardiff University in the area of Brexit and UK devolved politics, with a focus on exploring the impact of Brexit on women’s rights and gender equality across the four nations of the UK, and the future relationship between the UK and the EU. 

Rachel has always been keen to apply her academic expertise and research skills beyond academia.  To this end, she has developed experience of policy-focused and strategy-focused research, and is actively involved in extensive knowledge exchange activity, including with the Welsh Government, civil society stakeholders and the general public.  She has contributed to a range of diverse policy-related discussions, including through contributions to the work of various Committees in the Houses of Parliament, the Senedd and the Scottish Parliament.

She is a member of the Gender Network (part of the Third Sector Partnership Council), co-coordinates the Women in Europe (Wales) network as part of the Senedd’s Cross-Party Group on Women and sits on the Steering Group to establish the first Welsh Women’s Budget Group (WWBG), hosted by Chwarae Teg.  She is also a member of one of the Welsh Government’s expert groups on Regional Investment in Wales after Brexit (the Research, Monitoring and Evaluation sub-group). 

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CAROL KAY

Vice-Chair and Service User Engagement Lead

Carol is a fully qualified counsellor/ psychotherapist, clinical supervisor and coach, working in private practice.  She works with many different types of mental distress and specialises in working with trauma, in particular with survivors of domestic abuse and sexual violence.  Carol’s approach is focussed on not pathologizing distress – asking not “what’s wrong with you?” but “what happened to you?”

In her previous career, Carol worked in many different roles as a senior manager in social housing, mainly with housing associations in Scotland and England.  Latterly, Carol was able to pursue her enthusiasm for empowering those who use housing services as Director of the Tenant Participation Advisory Service (TPAS) Cymru.  Her most recent role was as housing regulator with the Welsh Government where she sought to improve housing association sector performance across the board and, particularly, in the areas of diversity, service user empowerment and governance. 

Carol’s aim in life is to promote and support empowerment and improvement through genuine collaboration, based round equality of status and contribution.  As a feminist, Carol is strongly committed to changing the elements of current prevailing cultures which are damaging to women.

For relaxation, Carol enjoys walking the legs off her two dogs, Hector and little Maisie in the beautiful Welsh countryside around her home and does a lot of reading, mainly crime fiction.

Ruby Harcombe FW Photo

Ruby Harcombe

Treasurer

Ruby is an Investment Executive at Development Bank of Wales and works with SME businesses based in Wales looking to raise finance. She is passionate about supporting local, owner managed businesses and over the last five years has supported more than 60 companies across a wide range of sectors.

She regularly works with boards and management teams of businesses to understand their strategy and funding requirements, particularly focusing on succession planning.

Ruby has worked in the financial services sector for the last 10 years, having joined a UK corporate bank as a graduate trainee.

Ruby takes a particular interest in female entrepreneurship and was shortlisted for Insider Wales’ Young Dealmaker of the Year in 2018.

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KATIE CHAPPELLE

Welsh Language and Comms Lead

Katie has a background in journalism, communications and public affairs.

She is currently the Wales Director for the Stroke Association and has spent more than ten years leading on external affairs for various UK-wide charities with operations in Wales, including RNID and St John’s Ambulance.

Katie was born in Cardiff and studied journalism and broadcasting at Cardiff University, going on to work as a broadcast journalist for South Wales-based radio stations including Red Dragon FM and Real Radio. She reported on high profile stories including the Clydach murders, Wales’ ban on smoking in public and her team won a Sony award for their report on the 40th anniversary of the Aberfan disaster. 

Katie is also trustee for Pregnancy Sickness Support, a charity which supports women experiencing the pregnancy complication hyperemesis gravidarum. Katie is a Welsh learner.

Margherita Carucci

Margherita Carucci

Margherita works in Cancer Research at Cardiff University.  She has volunteered in a number of charity organisations across Italy, Finland, and UK for local, national, and international projects.  She has been a Trustee member and Honorary Secretary of the Broxtowe Women’s Project in Nottingham, which is a charity company member of the Women’s Aid Federation of England supporting services for women experiencing or having experienced domestic abuse. Her previous academic interests, which she continues pursuing alongside her professional career, lie in women's studies including the topics of gender, feminism, and sexuality. 

Ron Mayers

Ron Mayers

Wellbeing Lead

Ron is a retired housing professional and chartered town planner who worked in the social housing sector in London and the South West for over 35 years.  His main tasks included managing homelessness and advice services, running council housing, doing policy work, supervising housing development and negotiating affordable housing.  During this time he was instrumental in getting funding for women’s refuges and other hostels. Having been out-of-hours homeless officer, he also understands the importance of women and children accessing support and suitable accommodation during times of crisis.

Since retirement he was a charity trustee for an Exeter domestic violence charity for over five years and helped found a new charity in Devon to help young people with mental health issues access creative therapies. Inspired by the need for equality and to build a fairer society, throughout his career he’s worked with fellow professionals and carers to alleviate poor housing conditions, improve people’s welfare and raise their self-esteem using his Coaching skills. Having moved to South Wales, he says it’s a pleasure to have the opportunity to use his skills, knowledge and experience to help people through CWA.

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CARLA GIUDICE

Chair of the HR and Governance Sub-Committee

Carla Giudice is a senior Civil Servant with over ten years’ experience of policy-making and operational delivery at the heart of UK Government. Carla has predominantly worked in the Home Office on a wide range of organised crime, policing and immigration issues. She has also applied her crisis management skills to support the Cabinet Office, Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government and Department for Health & Social Care to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic and the safe delivery of the 2012 Olympic Games.

Carla is passionate about developing public policies informed by lived and frontline delivery experience. She has worked in partnership with various UK police forces, local authorities and the third sector to collaborate on Home Office initiatives. Carla recently served as a warranted law enforcement leader to enhance her perspective of frontline delivery and led over 250 officers across the UK.

Outside of work, Carla lives with her young son in Cardiff. Carla has been a single parent since her pregnancy and has published numerous blog articles to support other women in a similar situation. Carla has also raised awareness of perinatal mental health and her experience as a single mother to a premature baby (her son was born at 30 weeks).

As someone who has benefitted from a strong circle of women in her work, family and friends to support her personal and professional journey, Carla wants to give something back to support Cardiff Women’s Aid to create an equal society where every woman feels safe and secure.

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VERSHA SOOD

Wellbeing Lead

Versha Sood is a multi-award winner and dementia care professional who feels passionately about combating the stigma surrounding mental health, domestic violence and gender inequality. She has facilitated and supported various activities for people of all ages to start discussions on important topics such as: women in senior leadership and domestic violence and its impact on women and children. 

Versha has volunteered for over 20 years now and has invested considerable time and effort into making a difference across various aspects of society. Her work includes being a Dementia Friends Champion for the Alzheimer’s Society for many years and she is also a volunteer with the Hindu Cultural Association in Cardiff for almost 14 years. Alongside this she has also supported charities such as EMWWAA and the British Red Cross.

Versha has sat on various national committees such as the ‘National Dementia Strategy consultation group’. During the COVID pandemic she has contributed to ‘Wales Places of Worship Opening’ group and has made contributions to other sensitive issues during this time such as ‘Funeral, Burials and Cremations’ meetings. Versha currently sits on the ‘Housing Support National Advisory Board’ to support future-proof housing for people with dementia and mental health issues. 

She worked in health and social care for over 20 years and spent the majority of her career specialising in dementia, mental health and family liaison. As well as Women’s Aid, Versha is a member of various sub-committees and is also a community governor of a high school.

Prof Kamila Hawthorne

PROFESSOR KAMILA HAWTHORNE

Safeguarding Lead

Professor Kamila Hawthorne, an academic GP of 32 years’ standing (26 years in South Wales), practices clinically as a GP salaried partner in Mountain Ash, in the South Wales Valleys. She is also the Head of the Graduate Entry Medicine Programme at Swansea University, and has a long track record of developing innovative medical education for both medical students and doctors in training. She is a Bevan Commissioner, a Welsh health and social care thinktank.

Kamila’s research interests are in diabetes, health education and health inequalities, particularly for Black and Minority Ethnic communities. She has had wide experience of setting up community projects in diabetes and heart disease, in Nottingham, Manchester and Cardiff. She has been named ‘GP of the Year’ twice, - in 2000 for her work with BAME communities in Riverside, Cardiff, and again in 2010 – nominated by one of her patients. 

Kamila was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s New Year Honours List 2017 for services to General Practice. She loves gardening, trying out new recipes and opera. Having taken up running a few years ago, she has persuaded her practice to become a ParkRun practice and is a passionate believer in working in partnership with her patients.