Chair of the BBA to become the new Chief Guide

Chair of the BBA to become the new Chief Guide

As the new Chief Guide Valerie Owen aims to encourage many more girls into careers in construction.


  • Award-winning business woman Valerie Owen appointed as Girlguiding’s most senior volunteer. Valerie uses her married name – Le Vaillant – in this role.
  • New Chief Guide commits to widening access to Girlguiding – and welcoming even more girls from all backgrounds.
  • She says ‘girls can do anything and guiding can help them do it!’ – as she calls for more businesses to recognise the life-changing skills girls learn through guiding, and particularly aims to encourage more girls into careers in the construction sector.

Award-winning business woman and entrepreneur Valerie Owen has been appointed Chief Guide of Girlguiding – the UK’s largest charity dedicated to girls and young women.

As Chief Guide, the charity’s most senior volunteer and Chair of its Board of Trustees, Valerie has committed to ramping up the fun and adventure on offer for Girlguiding’s members and widening access and diversity to give opportunities to more girls from all backgrounds. She also aims to encourage many more girls into careers in the construction sector.

Valerie has been involved in guiding her whole life. She believes her guiding experience has been instrumental in helping her build a hugely positive career, and is calling for more businesses to recognise the skills girls develop through outdoor learning and community education programmes in guiding.

Speaking about her appointment, Chair of the BBA and Chief Guide Valerie Owen said:

“I firmly believe that girls can do anything – given the right confidence, self-belief and support and the opportunity to have amazing fun and incredible adventures along the way. Being Chief Guide of the leading charity for girls and women provides me with the perfect opportunity to encourage more girls into the construction sector, in collaboration with the BBA.”

BBA CEO Claire Curtis-Thomas, said:

“Valerie Owen will be an outstanding Chief Guide. Her broad-based development and construction knowledge adds real value to our business, and she is a great champion for women in construction.”

Valerie has had a highly-successful career in the construction and property sectors. In 2001 Valerie was awarded an OBE for service to ‘architecture, and the community in East London’. In December 2009 she was made a Cabinet Office Ambassador to help champion equality and diversity in Ministerial/Public Appointments, and in 2015 she won the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award in the National Women in Construction Awards.

Valerie has championed diversity throughout her guiding career. The majority of her guiding leadership roles have involved running outreach programmes in socially-disadvantaged and ethnically-diverse areas across East London.

Valerie was appointed Chief Guide following an extensive recruitment process that involved both girls and volunteers.

Valerie and her husband Bob have four daughters – all of whom are members of Girlguiding.

Chair of the BBA Valerie Owen

Girlguiding Information

For more information about Girlguiding visit www.girlguiding.org.uk

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