It's farewell to Joelle and congratulations to Chris

Published: 04 December 2023

Joelle, our Director of Volunteering is retiring after more than a decade at Macmillan. Meet Chris, who will be taking on the role at the start of 2024.

Joelle sits at a desk smiling at something off camera.

Saying goodbye to Joelle

After more than a decade with Macmillan, our Director of Volunteering, Joelle Leader, is taking a well-earned retirement. Joelle initially joined Macmillan in 2012 on a three-month contract as Volunteering Strategy Manager. After 12 years of service, most of these spent as Director of Volunteering, Joelle has decided that it is time for her to retire from working for Macmillan (though, as you might expect, not entirely from volunteering).

Joelle’s calling time on a 50-year long working career that started out in the Police force, before she moved to the charity sector and spent the bulk of her career working across a wide variety of roles, organisations and causes. Joelle has decided that the time is right for her to take some time to enjoy the Brighton coast with her family, to travel more and to spend more time in her volunteer role as a Magistrate.

Joelle has consistently spoken of the privilege it’s been for her to lead the Volunteering division at Macmillan. And she certainly leaves the function much changed from when she started. Just some of the highlights from her tenure include…

• Creating the Macmillan Volunteering Quality Standards (MVQS) in 2014 - a pioneering step which set out the expected volunteer experience and helped drive the standard for volunteer management at Macmillan Establishing the Macmillan Volunteer Forum in 2014, to represent the views of Macmillan Volunteers at the highest level in Macmillan.

• Launching Assemble in 2022 - a dedicated and futureproofed volunteer management system built around the needs of Macmillan volunteers.

Perhaps her achievements and her advocacy for Macmillan volunteers is best illustrated in the current Transforming Macmillan Together project, where volunteers are not only part of our future thinking but are directly helping us shape the future of Macmillan itself.

Welcome to Chris

We’re pleased to announce that Chris Parker, currently Head of Volunteer Engagement, will take on the role of Director of Volunteering for a period of six months from the start of 2024. This interim appointment will enable us to conclude the Transforming Macmillan Together programme and take into consideration our developing organisational vision and strategy when planning for our long-term volunteering needs.

Chris joined Macmillan in 2016 as Engagement and Volunteering Manager for London. In this role he produced an influential report called ‘Mind the Gap’ to highlight the inequalities in cancer care across London. This report was used as a platform to launch the London Cancer Community; a community of people with lived experience, empowered to shape Macmillan’s service developments. Chris’s commitment to involvement and co-production continued as he took on the role of Head of Volunteer Engagement in 2018, and he has prioritised amplifying the voice of volunteers across the UK to shape the volunteer experience at Macmillan.

When asked about his hopes for the future of volunteering at Macmillan, Chris said “In a rapidly changing world and with more people than ever needing Macmillan’s support, I believe unlocking the innate value held within communities and people has never been more needed. Volunteers come with huge amounts of experience, diversity and skills, and I’m looking forward to working alongside our volunteers to enable them to continue to grow their impact.” 

"I’m looking forward to working alongside our volunteers to enable them to continue to grow their impact.”

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