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Trustees appoint the Chief Executive who with five directors is charged with delivering YHA’s plans to achieve the object and bring to life our vision of reaching out and enhancing the lives of young people.
Chief Executive - Caroline White
Caroline joined YHA in 2008 because she passionately believes in the huge life-changing opportunities YHA gives young people through travel, education and engagement with others from so many different backgrounds. This combines her skills for leading transformational change, property development, and the combination of commercial and voluntary sector expertise needed in a self financing trading charity. In 2013 Caroline was nominated to the Women’s First top 100 most influential women in tourism and hospitality.
Before joining YHA, she had a successful early career in the housing sector and was both Chief executive of Soho Housing association and English Churches Housing group. she had a successful consultancy for 10 years, initially working primarily in the private sector supporting senior teams to develop their strategic plans and leading change programmes. She led a number of voluntary organisations through major change, including the Alzheimers’ Society. She has held a number of non-exec roles including a Trustee of Centrepoint and Chair of her local Primary Care Trust.
Currently she is a Board Member of the Outdoor Industries association and an advisor to School of Hospitality and Tourism at the University of Surrey.
Director of Property - Jake Chalmers
I am a Chartered Surveyor with over 18 years experience in the property industry.
My career started in commercial property moving into specialising in acquisitions and disposals for investment funds and property companies. In 1998 I took a career break travelling extensively using hostels across the world. On my return to the UK I joined YHA becoming Property Director in 2007. My department encompasses a wide range of responsibilities including:
Hostel Acquisitions, Disposals and Property Management
Development and Maintenance of the YHA Network
Health & Safety, Environment and Quality
Capital Fundraising and Partnerships
I am extremely fortunate to be a director of the YHA. I work with great people who are committed to the ethos of the YHA, providing opportunities for everyone to stay at inspiring hostels, meeting new people and having life developing experiences. The fantastic thing about the YHA is the more successful we are the greater the number of people we can help to have the YHA Experience.
People Director - Karen Shotbolt
I am delighted to join YHA. It has people and values at its core which is immensely exciting to be part of. The challenge is to blend the existing great culture and vision with the commercial and operating best practice to deliver what the modern YHA customer wants. Our recent Times Top 100 employer listing and Gold Investor in People status is also something to build on and we will continue to develop YHA’s 1500 employees and volunteers,. It’s also great to be involved with a charity that sets out to improve and enhance the lives of young people and of course I get to work in some amazing properties and beautiful locations across the UK too.
I joined YHA in February 2014 from LA Fitness UK, one of the country’s leading gym chains, where I held the role of HR Director for four and a half years. I also have a background in multi-site retail, leisure and hospitality including seven years as UK HR Director with SSP. Prior to this I held senior HR roles within the pub sector including Whitbread and Inntrepreneur and ran my own HR Consultancy business for a while.
I am married with two adult daughters and a keen (but slow) cyclist when I get chance. The highlight was completing the London to Paris challenge on behalf of the British Heart Foundation.
Director of Finance and IT - William Howarth
I'm a qualified accountant with over 15 years senior management experience. I was Finance Director at Ladybird Books before spending eight years with the BBC in Factual TV productions.
I'm responsible for Finance and IT and work closely with the Treasurer to ensure that YHA remains on a sound footing and is able to meet the challenges and opportunities that the future brings.
Like many people I have early memories of YHA and fondly remember some great times in hostels whilst in Venture Scouts. Outside of work I enjoy music, sport (where I have coached hockey on a voluntary basis for over 20 years) and of course travel.
Director of Sales, Marketing and Digital - Joe Lynch
Joe is an experienced sales and marketing director specialising in the growth of youth, active, educational and multi-site businesses. He has 13 years of experience in the tourism and leisure sector, nationally and globally.
As the owner of a consultancy business offering expertise in all areas of sales and marketing, he worked with clients such as TUI Travel, Thomas Cook and The Education Travel Group. His key achievements include the development of the ‘Relax as Hard as You Like’ campaign, following the merger of Sunworld Sailing and Neilson Ski, which was awarded the Best Campaign in Travel; and the creation of the ‘Peak Horizon’ brand to tackle hotel occupancy in low season, which was listed in the Sunday Times Top 100 holidays in its first three months.
In his youth, Joe was a frequent user of the YHA, throughout the Yorkshire Dales – (even helping to build the steps up the side of Malham Cove!), and still enjoys the outdoor life; sailing, cycling and walking whenever time permits.
Joe Comments…“What a privilege to be involved in an association that offers so many opportunities and experiences to so many people. We have a tremendous opportunity now, with a hugely modernised range of hostels, a fantastic dedicated team and an ever increasing awareness of the good that the YHA does for all.”
Director of Operations - Jerry Robinson
Jerry brings a wealth of accommodation / hospitality experience and expertise to the YHA combined with a real passion for travel, hostels & camping, several years of volunteering (as a Business Mentor) with the Princes Trust and the recent achievement (with Distinction) of his Masters Degree (MSc) in multi-unit hospitality leadership and management. Prior to the YHA, Jerry held Director roles in Alpha Airports Group, Orchid and The Spirit Group where he operated a joint venture hotel business with Premier Inn. Most recently in Greene King Plc, Jerry instigated and led the award winning Apprenticeship programme which supported over 3500 young people achieving National Apprenticeships.
In Jerry’s words “YHA is an amazing blend of delivering our charitable objectives for young people and providing first class hostel accommodation in some very special and unique locations”
Outside of work Jerry is married with one child aged 9 (who also loves YHA, Hostels and Camping), enjoys motorcycling, water sports and continues to research and write on hospitality management.