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

Mary Mc PhailMary Mc Phail

Chief Executive

Mary Mc Phail was appointed Chief Executive in March 2007. Previously, Mary spent ten years working in Brussels focusing her energies on policy development and advocacy in the field of public health and women’s rights in the European Union.

Mary worked for over 20 years in the field of health and social care, first in Ireland and then in the UK. Specialising in developing services for people with drug, alcohol and mental health problems, Mary combined operational management with policy and advocacy work in both the non-governmental sector and in the UK’s National Health Service.

Mary is committed to working to empower girls and young women and has a life long commitment to promoting human rights, justice and equality for girls and women globally. Mary is also an experienced fundraiser and public speaker.

Mary has a Bachelors in Social Sciences from University College Dublin, a Bachelors in Humanities from North London University and a Masters Degree in Health Service Management from City University, London.

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 has ran her own translation management business for several years.

Ann Brookes

Director of Fund Development

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

Prior to becoming the Director of Fund Development at WAGGGS, Ann was 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.

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.

Harriett GethingHarriett Gething

Communications and Advocacy Director

Harriett is the Communications and Advocacy Director for WAGGGS. She moved into the role in March 2014 to provide Maternity cover for Rebecca Munro.

Harriett’s background is in Brand and Marketing, with a varied commercial background including wine, coffee and food, with a significant focus in Fairtrade and ethical business.

Having been ‘born into guiding’ with a Brown Owl mother, she has first-hand experience of the value of the movement to girls and women, and currently volunteers at a Brownie pack in London. 




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.

Liz Sell

Director of Finance and Business Services

Elizabeth Sell has been the Director of Finance and Business Services at WAGGGS since September 2009.

Before that Elizabeth was Head of Finance at WWF-UK, which is the equivalent of a Member Organization in that international conservation charity network. Her previous experience includes five years at a venture capital-funded training company, and being part of the rescue team at the Royal Academy of Arts after a high profile fraud in the 1990s.

Elizabeth is an Associate of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants and holds an MBA from Durham University Business School.