Sue Rimmer OBE (chair)


Sue Rimmer is Chair of The Girls’ Network and Vice Chair of Council at St George’s University of London. She is also a fellow of the RSA. Until July 2017, Sue was Principal and CEO of South Thames College for over 16 years and has over 30 years experience in the further education and skills sector. Sue has advised on and shaped a wide range of educational and skills strategies and policy developments at local, regional and national levels. Throughout her career, Sue has demonstrated a passion for and strong commitment to pursuing equality, diversity and inclusion.


In addition to being CEO & Principal, Sue held a number of external positions including: Chair of the Association of Colleges (London Region), a Board member on the London Development Agency, Chair of London Capital Colleges; Chair of the Principal’s Professional Council; a trustee of the Helena Kennedy Foundation and a Commissioner for the All Parliamentary Group for Skills. Sue has a BA (Hons) in Sociology and Psychology and a postgraduate Certificate in Education. She was awarded the OBE in the 2011 New Year’s Honours list for services to Further Education.


Hannah Essex

Hannah Essex is Vice-Chair and Founding Trustee of The Girls' Network. She met Co-Founders Becca Dean and Charly Young while she was Director of Communications at Teach First. They told her about their idea for what became The Girls' Network - she was immediately hooked and has been involved ever since. A life-long feminist, Hannah is passionate about improving the life chances of the least advantaged young people and creating a more equal and inclusive society. 

Hannah's day job is Co-Executive Director at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), a role she shares with Claire Walker. BCC sits at the heart of a business network that spans the length and breadth of the UK, with links to markets across the world. 

Claire and Hannah joined the British Chambers of Commerce in September 2019 having formed their partnership in 2016 while at Teach First and they co-lead the BCC's policy, advocacy, communications and membership work. 


Michelle Rodrigues

Michelle joined the Board of Trustees of The Girls’ Network in 2018. Having studied law at Cambridge University, she spent 11 years as a Corporate lawyer at City practice Taylor Wessing before moving to financial services firm Instinet Europe Limited, a Nomura company, where she currently serves as General Counsel. Her area of specialism is Corporate Governance and in 2020 she received an award for Excellence in Governance at the European Women in Finance Awards.

Michelle is passionate about The Girls’ Network’s mission to connect girls from the least advantaged communities to professional female mentors, having had personal experience of the positive impact of mentoring during her teenage years.





Sarah Vawda


Sarah has over 30 years corporate development, M&A and business transformation experience gained through senior roles with global businesses across multiple industries within both public and PE owned companies. She has held executive roles with Christian Salvesen plc and Provimi SA and is Corporate Development Director for Johnson Matthey plc.

She is currently a Board Director for Hamlet Protein in Denmark and Noveltech in India, both private equity owned businesses.