World Bureau

The World Bureau is the secretariat of WAGGGS and is located at Olave Centre, 12c Lyndhurst Road, London NW3 5PQ, England. It was first set up in London in 1928 and moved to the Olave Centre in 1984.

The building, originally known as Rosslyn Lodge, was named after the First Earl of Rosslyn, who later became Lord Chancellor in 1793. Originally built as a residence in 1810, the building was renovated and has been used for numerous purposes since then.

During the First World War, the building was a hospital. In later years it became a hotel, a nurses' home and a hostel, before WAGGGS purchased it in 1982. Today Rosslyn Lodge is part of the Olave Centre, home of both the World Bureau and Pax Lodge World Centre, completing Olave, Lady Baden-Powell's dream of uniting the World Bureau with the World Centre in London.

World Bureau staff structure

A Chief Executive — who is responsible to the World Board — heads the World Bureau, which has a multi-national staff of around 50 professionals, and is divided internally into Leadership Development; Communications and Advocacy; Global Operations; Fund Development; Finance and Administrative Services Teams; Human Resources and the Chief Executive team.

See below for profiles of the World Bureau Leadership Team members.

The work of the World Bureau

The World Bureau provides services to, and a link between, WAGGGS' Member Organizations, and to National Organizations Working Towards Membership; supports National Organizations in their preparations for Associate and Full Membership; assists with the overall planning and coordination of World Conferences and World Board meetings; and implements decisions taken at World Conferences, World Board and Committee meetings.

The work of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts is conducted in WAGGGS' three official languages: English, French and Spanish.

Members of the Leadership Team

Anita Tiessen

Chief Executive Officer Anita Tiessen

Anita Tiessen is Chief Executive Officer for WAGGGS, leading the organization forward and continuing the work we already do. Anita’s priorities for her role are to get to know the people who make up our global Movement, strengthen our commitment to common values, and to work together in an integrated way. She believes that it is only through working together that we can deliver our shared goals.

Before taking on this role, Anita was Deputy Executive Director at UNICEF UK, responsible for the organization’s public affairs, programmes and communications work. She led work to embed children’s rights in the UK, including programmes in schools, health settings and in local government for 14 years.

Prior to joining UNICEF UK, Anita worked at Amnesty International’s global headquarters in London, and previously worked in government and journalism in Canada. She has travelled widely in both roles, including to the 1995 World Conference on Women in Beijing. Born in Canada, she is married, with two daughters aged 8 and 11.

Catherine Roberts
Catherine Roberts

Director of Governance

As Director of Governance at WAGGGS since 2012, Catherine has driven a comprehensive review of the global organization to consolidate its governance function including  delivery of a key mandate for incorporation of the charity.She has promoted transparency and ethical awareness in the fund development policy framework.

 In addition to her expertise in non-profit governance, Catherine’s background is in the field of linguistics. She oversees all translation services at WAGGGS and has developed a keen awareness of international issues and diversity in the field of global communication.

 Prior to joining WAGGGS in 2007 Catherine ran her own translation management business for several years.

Ann BrookesAnn Brookes

Director of Global Partnerships and Philanthropy

Ann Brookes is the Director of Global Partnerships and Philanthropy for WAGGGS and has held senior level positions with many charities both in the UK and Canada.

Prior to becoming the Director of Global Partnerships and Philanthropy, Ann was the Director of Fund Development at WAGGGS as well as previously serving as the Director of Fundraising and External Affairs for The Frank Buttle Trust and Director of Development for The English National Opera.

Ann has been involved in the fundraising field for over 20 years and has spoken at numerous Fundraising and Sponsorship Conferences around the World.


Sally Elkes 

Director of Membership Development and World Centres'. 

Sally Elkes joined WAGGGS in October 2011 as World Centres' Director. Sally holds a Master of Arts in Human Sciences from Oxford University, a Master of Science in Healthcare Management from Birmingham University and a Postgraduate Certificate in Strategic Leadership from Canterbury Christ Church University.

Having been a Brownie, Guide and Leader herself, Sally has a personal appreciation of the positive impact of the Movement on young women. Through WAGGGS and its World Centres, she aims to help more people experience the benefits of Guiding in their own lives and also within their communities.

Sally joins WAGGGS after nearly 10 years delivering operational, strategic and policy management portfolios for the UK's National Health Service.


Elisa ChiodiElisa Chiodi

Director of Membership Development

Elisa has been WAGGGS Director of Membership Development since July 2014. Prior to this she worked for WAGGGS in different capacities and has therefore gained a very sound understanding of the needs of WAGGGS Member Organisations as well as girls and young women across the movement.

Elisa started to lead organisations and teams in her twenties and has since gained broad experience in organisation and programme management, diversity, learning and development and fundraising. Before joining WAGGGS she has worked with other membership based organisations in Europe, Asia, the Middle – East and Latin America. She has a passion for diversity and believe that children and young people should have the opportunity to develop their fullest potential while embracing their own unique identity and aspirations.

Elisa has a master in international relations from the University of Bologna (Italy) and is currently studying a Master in Business Administration.


Rebecca Munro

Communications and Advocacy Director

Rebecca is the Communications and Advocacy Director for WAGGGS. She has been in her post since January 2009, coming to WAGGGS from roles in global IT&T organizations.

She holds a Masters in International Relations as well as an MBA and has extensive experience in marketing and communications, including branding, government and community relations programmes, online marketing and social networks and a background in media as both a journalist and PR consultant.

Rebecca has for a long time volunteered as an advocate for young people and people with disabilities. She is from Perth, Western Australia.


Lydia Mutuare 

Leadership and Programme Development DirectorLydia Mutare

Lydia has several years of experience in both the formal and non-formal approach to education working as a teacher and working with youth in the not for profit sector, and has experience of development work at an international level from working with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, (UNHCR) United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and Family Health International (FHI) in adolescent health.

She has extensive experience in training and leadership development and has been involved in developing and delivering training and leadership development at an international level. In addition, she has experience in educational programme development and delivery using the non-formal education in an intercultural setting.

Lydia has worked with women from Africa, the Arab region, the Asia Pacific region, the Americas, and the Caribbean and Europe regions, giving her vast international and intercultural experience and exposure. Now, Lydia leads WAGGGS’ work in training, leadership and programme development.


Andy MurphyAndy Murphy Director of Finance

Director of Finance and Business Services

Andy Murphy has been the Director of Finance and Business Services at WAGGGS since February 2014. Prior to joining WAGGGS, Andy was the Director of Corporate Services at the Professional Association of Childcare & Early Years. He has wide ranging experience in public and charity sectors in the United Kingdom, both in professional and governance capacities. He is a trustee of a number of charities and has a strong personal commitment to social justice and improving the prospects of children and young people worldwide. Andy is a qualified accountant and a member of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance & Accountancy.


Gill SewellGill Sewell World Centre Director

World Centres Director

Gill has worked with the World Centres since April 2013. Prior to joining WAGGGS Gill worked in local government (as Assistant Director of Children’s Services), the charity sector and the private sector. She has professional qualifications in management, training and development and Human Resources. She was a Brownie, a Guide and an adult leader with GirlGuiding UK and was a programme volunteer at Sangam in the 1980s. Gill is passionate about developing women in leadership roles in the workplace and the wider community.