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Diversity advocate and business leader Justina Cruickshank appointed as new Chair of Wac Arts.

Justina Cruickshank

Wac Arts, the performing arts charity that has been empowering young people for over 40 years, is delighted to announce the appointment of business and diversity expert, Justina Cruickshank, as its new Chair.

Cruickshank is currently Chief Operations Officer of coworking and flexible office provider, The Brew and brings significant experience of building and growing an organisation to high performance. She is Vice Chair of the Electoral Reform Society, where she has been board lead for its member engagement, and diversity and inclusion work.

A passionate advocate for diversity, Cruickshank has also launched her own company, Heady Mix, a subscription book service and publisher that showcases writers and stories from under-represented groups including women, racial, ethnic minorities, LGBTIQ+ and people with disabilities.

After a competitive recruitment process led by a specialist external recruiter, Cruickshank begins as Chair of the Board immediately.

Cruickshank was interviewed by the board’s nominations committee, as well as a Wac Arts youth panel who said: “Justina placed a particular emphasis on collaboration across all levels between the board, staff and students.”

The young people also expressed that Cruickshank had, “an excellent understanding of the importance of diversity and inclusivity across all spectrums”.

Responding to her appointment, Cruickshank commented: “With a turbulent 2020 and uncertain times ahead, my first priority will be to ensure Wac Arts is financially robust and able to withstand the pressures presented by the pandemic and ensuing economic crisis.

From my interview with the youth panel, it was apparent how much Wac Arts positively impacts on the lives of young people; helping them to defeat a whole manner of challenges, providing them with hope and enabling them to create ambitious goals for their future. To now be part of such an organisation is a privilege. I can’t wait to start working with the Chief Executive, the staff team and the rest of the board, and engaging with students and alumni in securing a sustainable and exciting future for Wac Arts.

Cruickshank succeeds Liz Cleaver who was approaching the end of her third term.