Our Trustees

Our Trustees are responsible for the governance and efficiency of Behind Closed Doors. Their mix of knowledge and skills supports our work and helps drive the organisation forward at a strategic level.

Ruth Davison – Chair

Ruth first became a trustee of Behind Closed Doors in 2005. At that time she worked as a family solicitor with a specialism in supporting victims of domestic abuse. Ruth served as Chair of the organisation between 2006 and 2012 and then left the board to spend time with her young family. She re-joined as a trustee in 2017.

Ruth’s particular focus is supporting the development of the trustee board and she has also spent some time running a charity as CEO. Ruth is currently working in a Local Authority as the domestic abuse and sexual violence manager with responsibility for strategy, partnerships, safeguarding  and policy development in this area.

Alison Puente – Trustee

Alison was appointed as a Trustee of Behind Closed Doors in January 2020 and brings 25 years’ experience in corporate communications and business leadership. She has served as a director of several small and mid-size businesses, as well as working within the senior team of a number of major corporates. Her work includes developing the strategy, values and commercial growth plans of organisations, along with team leadership, people management and development plans.

Before moving to Yorkshire, Alison spent six years living in San Francisco. She is now a director of a small management consultancy where having a positive impact on the world and working pro-bono for important organisations like Behind Closed Doors is a core part of our values. She’s proud to be part of Behind Closed Doors and to have the opportunity to support the team and help develop the charity for the people it serves.

Carmel Gallagher – Trustee

Carmel is the most recent appointment to the board of Trustees.  With nearly 25 years’ experience of working with children and families across clinical, charitable and education sectors, she hopes to put her knowledge and skill base to good use at Behind Closed Doors. 

Carmel has worked in senior leadership, been a Trustee for a Leeds based children’s charity and served as a director for a SME.  She is passionate about developing people focussed organisations and strives for quality improvement.

Originally from Birmingham, Carmel relocated to Yorkshire twenty years ago and enjoys nothing more than getting out onto the hills.

David Ruddiman – Trustee

David has spent 35 years in the furniture business, selling his business in 2009 and is now semi-retired. He now splits his time between 4 charities and is a consultant for The Cranfield Trust, a charity that places business people into charities that are struggling or have a specific project to complete.

Gill Crofton – Treasurer

Gill is an FCA. Gill is currently a stay at home mum with two young children.

Gill’s job prior to having a family was as Financial Controller in a retail environment. Prior to this Gill worked over 10 years supporting OMBs as an Audit Manager and Business Advisor.

Gill became involved with BCD when the treasurer vacancy arose. Gill has loved learning about the amazing work done by BCD and enjoys working alongside and supporting the operational team.

David was drawn to us having been approached by a colleague and has been inspired by the great work the charity does quietly and Behind Closed Doors.

Jacqui Withnell – Trustee

Jacqui brings a wealth of experience to the Board of BCD. Jacqui has over 35 years’ experience in the commercial interiors industry having worked in design, sales strategy and marketing. The last 18 years have been spent as either a business owner or in senior managerial and leadership roles.

Jacqui now runs her own commercial furniture practice working primarily with growing and changing SME’s.

She has an MSc in Leadership and Change management and through her skills and interest in health and wellbeing assists clients to create a better day at work through creating environments that generate comfort, function and emotional wellbeing. This in turn inspires people to do their best work as well as increase productivity, satisfaction and engagement.

In her spare time, Jacqui teaches pilates, nutrition and weight management on a pro bono basis with wives of farmers in the small village where she lives with her husband and 3 working dogs.

Michelle Lewis – Trustee

Michelle Lewis has over 20 years’ experience in holding Director-level and senior management roles in the utility and charity sector.  She brings experience of good Board governance, effective partnership working, strong service delivery and impactful communications and engagement to the role.  

From Leeds, she is proud to have been invited to become a Trustee at Behind Closed Doors in July 2020.  She values the opportunity to play a part in creating an organisation where the team know they are valued and can excel in helping people throughout Leeds whose lives are affected by domestic violence and abuse.  

Sharon Milner – Trustee

As well as being a Trustee at Behind Closed Doors, Sharon also works for a Yorkshire based Charity, holding over a decades experience in managing and leading.  She also has some past corporate experience working in sales and marketing for Leeds Chamber of Commerce.

Originally from Leeds, Sharon now lives in Ilkley with her husband. Her two daughters work in London and Manchester, which is a great excuse to visit two great cities.

Sharon’s hobbies are going to the theatre, cinema, running, racquetball and cycling (in good weather).

Her initial interest in becoming a Trustee of Behind Closed Doors comes from being able to support two very different, worthwhile charities.

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