Our Board of Trustees
Mary Madden CBE
A graduate of Queen’s University, Mary has worked in the public sector since 1979 when she qualified as a Solicitor in Northern Ireland. She began her working life in the Crown Solicitor’s office where for thirteen years she acted for the government and public sector organisations in civil proceedings.
In 1992 Mary moved from legal services to policy when she took a post in the Northern Ireland Office. Her first post was leading a team tasked with a major review of the Criminal law and Criminal Justice system. From there she moved into finance at a time when the government took the decision to change from a cash accounting system to accruals accounts. She headed up the team tasked with delivery this major financial management change to the department.
From Finance Mary moved to head up the Security Policy and operations division where she had regular contact with the Military and the Police Service in handling deeply sensitive issues around normalisation programme set in train by the then prime minister, Tony Blair.
Mary moved to the political directorate of the department where she worked closely with the then Prime Minister, Tony Blair, his Secretary of States and Ministers to achieve a political settlement between the local parties. She was awarded the CBE in The Queen’s New Years Honour List in 2010 for her work on decommissioning.
Mary joined the Department of Justice in 2013 when all the remaining powers has been devolved to the Executive Assembly and politics appeared to have stabilised. She has held three posts in the department before leaving to join The Executive Office in January 2017 specifically to take up the role as joint Secretary in the NSMC. She retired in April 2018.
Since retirement Mary has taken up several voluntary roles. She is on the Boards of The Princes Trust, The Golaith Trust, Glencree Peace and Reconciliation Centre which are focussed in improving the lives of our young people and promoting peace and reconciliation not just in this jurisdiction but across these islands. Mary is also on the board of The Ulster New Zealand Trust which promotes and fosters relationships between Northern Ireland and New Zealand.
Melanie runs her own successful Insurance Broking business and during her career has held varied and interesting external roles. She was a trustee for a medical responder charity in Berkshire, becoming the lead governor of the South-Central Ambulance service for Hampshire, Berkshire, Oxfordshire, and Berkshire. By working with several different groups and using her collaborative approach she was able to work with the Trusts to successfully reduce hospital handover times at the Royal Berkshire.
She was a London Borough councillor for eight years only stepping down this year to explore other options. During this time, she was the chairman of the finance committee and the cabinet member for adult care and health. Tasked with budget savings she achieved better service outcomes with reduced spend for two years.
Melanie is most proud of her work on diversity, driving the department to be the most diverse in the whole of the council. Taking the potential of staff to overcome barriers to ensure everyone is given the opportunity to be their best.
She embraces the city livery movement and the positive work they do in our communities and is set to be Master of the Worship Company of Paviors in 2024. She was instrumental in taking forward a program to get the long term unemployed and other hard to reach groups into the workplace. This has been one of the most rewarding things that she has achieved as she has witnessed changed lives through training and regaining personal confidence.
Melanie was born in London and is hugely proud of her Northern Irish heritage. Both her parents were born in County Derry and as a child she spent most holidays in Ireland. She feels passionate about preserving this unique land and its people and their place within the United Kingdom. She is looking forward to playing her part in the coming years for the UK Together Foundation, using her skills and talents for the common good.
In 2023 the Foundation will be forming an influential and robust Advisory Board, compromising of experts and professionals to support our work. Coming soon.
Young women and men are at times underrepresented in formal discussions about the United Kingdom, and at the Foundation, as our work gets underway, we are keen to actively involve young people to ensure their participation. Coming soon.