Trustees and Members of Directors' Committees

Chart of WES Governance

WES Governance

The Women's Engineering Society is a charitable company, so it is governed by the President and the Board of Directors of the Company, who are also Trustees of the Charity.

The Board is supported by the Directors' Committees, established in 2020, which Members may apply to join. The Directors' Committees focus on Members, Partnerships, Events and Communications. There is also a Finance and Audit Committee attended by the President, two Board Members and the Chief Executive Officer.

Nominations for the President and Board elections have now closed. The results will be declared at the Women's Engineering Society's Annual General Meeting on the 24 October 2020.

The Preliminary Notice of the 2020 Annual General Meeting and the Articles of Association are listed below.

    The Board consists of the WES President, who is the Board Chair and eight Directors/Trustees who are elected by the Members. The Board can appoint (or co-opt) an additional three Directors if they want to add expertise to the Board. 

    The six duties of the Trustees are as follows This information can also be found at the Charity Commission website here.

    1. Ensure your charity is carrying out its purposes for the public benefit
      • It’s about knowing:
        • what your charity can and can’t do within its purposes
        • how your charity is fulfilling its purposes and benefiting the public
        • what difference your charity is really making
    2. Comply with your charity’s governing document and the law
      • It’s about being:
        • familiar with your governing document
        • up to date with filing accounts, returns and any changes to your charity’s registration details
        • aware of other laws that apply to your charity
      • It’s not about being:
        • an expert - but you do need to take reasonable steps to find out
    3. Act in your charity’s best interests
      • It’s about:
        • making balanced, informed decisions
        • recognising & dealing with conflicts of interest
        • ensuring trustee benefits are allowed
        • being prepared to question and challenge
        • accepting majority decisions
      • It’s not about:
        • preserving the charity for its own sake
        • serving personal interests
    4. Ensure your charity is accountable
      • It’s about:
        • managing risks, protecting assets (reputation) and people
        • getting the resources your charity needs
        • having and following appropriate controls and procedures
        • dealing with land and buildings
        • responsibility for, and to, staff and volunteers
    5. Manage your charity’s resources responsibly
      • It’s about:
        • using your skills and experience
        • deciding when you need advice
        • preparing for meetings
        • getting the information you need (financial, management)
        • being prepared in case something does go wrong
    6. Act with reasonable care and skill
      • It’s about:
        • meeting legal accounting and reporting requirements
        • being able to show that your charity complies with the law and is effective 
        • being accountable to members and others with an interest in the charity 
        • ensuring that staff and volunteers are accountable to the board
        • welcoming accountability as an opportunity not a burden


    From 2020 the Board and President are elected by and from the Members for three year terms, instead of the previous year-long term. This will provide stability for WES. To ensure that fresh voices are added to the Board, a third of the Directors are elected every year for three year terms. This will provide innovation for WES.

    For the first three years of the new governance, there are transitional arrangements. In 2020 this means that the President and two Directors will be elected for three years, three Directors will be elected for two years, and three Directors for one year. The elections in 2021 and 2022 will be for three Directors for three years, so by 2023, every Director is elected for three years.

    The Council has been replaced by the Directors' Committees and the Council Members chose a Committee to work with in January 2020.

    Each Committee is chaired by a Board Director and has up to seven Members. Currently most of these Members used to be on the Council.

    All of the Directors' Committees will be meeting together virtually at 12 noon immediately after the Annual General Meeting online on Saturday 24 October 2020. Everyone who has expressed an interest in joining a Directors' Committee will also be invited to find out more about them.

    If you would like to be considered to be on a Directors' Committee, please email Elizabeth Donnelly at to let her know. 

    Board of Trustees

    Benita Mehra

    Immediate Past President

    Having attained an engineering degree over 25 years ago, Benita Mehra has operated in the aviation, housing and health sectors with roles including design and construction of major terminal buildings, used her masters in project management to formalise her on the job skills.

    Adriana Vargas-Colwill

    BENg, MSc, AMIChemE
    Vice President

    Adriana Vargas-Colwill graduated from UCL with an MSc in Chemical Engineering in 2011, Adriana is currently working as a Technical Safety Engineer at ode Ltd. Adriana has acquired experience in design and development of lab scale education equipment such as bioreactors, and in process safety of offshore installations in the Oil & Gas Industry. She is currently working towards Chartered engineer status. As a STEM Ambassador, she is passionate about promoting engineering to young generations.

    Dr Katherine Critchley

    PhD, MSc, BEng (Hons), FWES
    Vice President

    Dr Katherine Critchley graduated from Coventry University in 2002 with a PhD in Process Analysis Software for the draw bending of small diameter thin walled tubes.  Prior to this Katherine had gained an MSc in Computer Aided Engineering (1992) and an Honours Degree in Engineering (1991), from Coventry University.

    Dr Jo Douglas-Harris

    Vice President

    Dr Jo Douglas-Harris is a Product and Applications Scientist at Venator, specialising in the development of titanium dioxide pigments for coatings. Prior to this, she worked for British Sugar as a Process Scientist. Jo completed a master’s degree in Chemistry in 2013 at the University of Edinburgh and a PhD in Chemical Engineering in 2017 at the University of Bath. Her PhD was sponsored by Unilever researching fabric cleaning and laundry detergents.

    Sally Sudworth

    Honorary Secretary

    Sally Sudworth is the lead judge for the eminent Karen Burt award and also led the WES Centenary Conference in 2019.

    Sally is a civil engineer currently working in flood risk management at the Environment Agency, accountable for the delivery of the asset management programme. She is also sustainability lead, driving carbon reduction targets for all construction, maintenance and operational activities.

    Dr Pauline Smith

    Honorary Treasurer

    In the early 1980s Pauline was working as Management Accountant for a hosiery manufacturer when she realised that what she really wanted was the Production Manager’s role! She then went to the University of Nottingham where she graduated with a BSc in Production and Operations Management followed by a PhD in Manufacturing Engineering and Operations Management. She never made it back to manufacturing and has remained in academic roles for 27 years.

    Alexandra Knight


    Alexandra Knight is a Chartered Engineer, Fellow of the IMechE and Member of the IAM with over 15 years’ experience in Asset Management, Systems Engineering and Project Management. She is a Technical Director at Amey Strategic Consulting with experience in numerous market sectors including defence, power, highways and health.

    Jay Surti


    Jay Surti is a Business Presentation Consultant, Author and Keynote Speaker. Initially graduating with a degree in Civil Engineering, she later qualified as a lawyer and practised for 17 years before moving into speaking, coaching and consulting.

    Her clients include business owners, corporate professionals and MBA graduates -  helping senior managers with their pitching/speaking as well as leadership and management skills. 

    Members of Directors' Committees

    Chrisma Jain

    CEng, MIMechE, MWES
    Ordinary Council Members

    Chrisma Jain is a Chartered Engineer, Directors' Committee Member for the Women's Engineering Society as well as member of Council for the Institute of Mechanical Engineering and is working towards her Fellowship with the IMechE. She is also the chair of FiTE (Females in Transport Engineering), a support network group within Transport for London that supports over 300 women in their career progression in Engineering.

    Ifeyinwa Rita Kanu

    Ordinary Council Members

    Rita Kanu is the director of IntelliDIgest Limited and PhD researcher (Civil Engineering) at Heriot Watt University with solid and progressive experience in most aspects of Civil Engineering, specialty in water, wastewater and waste to energy systems. She is a Member of the Chartered Institute of Water and Environmental Management (MCIWEM). A pioneer of Heriot Watt Female in Engineering and Science forum, a platform dedicated to encouraging young females to develop an interest in and excel in STEM related fields which has evolved to become Heriot Watt WES Affiliated Student Group.

    Carolina Escudero

    Ordinary Council Members

    Carolina is an Electrical Engineer with a Master’s in Sustainable Energy Technology. With over 10 years of experience in the transmission and distribution of electricity, she now works as a Business Development Manager for Vattenfall Networks and is working towards her Chartership status. She is particularly passionate about diversity and inclusion and has led numerous initiatives including the London Cluster in 2019.

    Katherine Kirk

    Ordinary Council Members

    My most recent position is Professor of Physics in the School of Engineering and Computing at University of the West of Scotland (UWS). I joined UWS in 2000 as a Lecturer and I was promoted to Professor in 2005. During 2009- 2011 I had a 2 year maternity leave/ career break and I subsequently returned part-time. My specialist scientific areas are thin film devices, ultrasonics, sensors and imaging, non-destructive testing.

    Dr Sarah Chen

    Ordinary Council Members

    Dr Sarah Chen is a Civil Engineer and a 2018 winner of the Top 50 Women in Engineering Awards (WE50) - Transferrers and Returners. Sarah transferred into engineering after a career in medicine and now enjoys a career working for EDF Energy. 

    Carol Morris

    Ordinary Council Members

    Carol spent 5 years as an industrial chemist before retraining as an electronics engineer following a career break. She has worked at the Open University for nearly 30 years and is currently Deputy Head of the School of Engineering and Innovation.

    She has extensive experience of equality and diversity issues and chaired the School’s successful submission for an Athena SWAN Bronze award. She was recently awarded Principal Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy.

    Carmen Zaragoza

    Ordinary Council Members

    Carmen Zaragoza is an industrial engineer specialised in energy with a masters in renewable energy technologies. Passionate about the energy sector and its constant evolution, she works as a gas turbine global solutions engineer in an international company. She was initially drawn into Engineering by her curiosity and desire to learn how things work.

    Ursula Heng

    Ordinary Council Members

    Ursula is a Delivery Engineering Transformation Leader for initiatives in E-IMEA and North America at Procter & Gamble and joined in 2007. She has been responsible for the implementation of multi - million pound programmes across sites, standardisation of platforms and organisational change management.

    Sarah Haslam

    BEng, MSc, CEng, FIMechE
    Ordinary Council Members

    Sarah is a Chartered Engineer and Fellow of the IMechE with nearly 25 years’ experience in Automotive Engineering. She currently holds the position of Chief Program Engineer, Engine Engineering at Ford Motor Company. Sarah is passionate about encouraging the next generation of engineers, and actively promoting STEM careers to girls.

    Jennifer Glover

    MEng (Hons), AIMechE
    Ordinary Council Members

    Jennifer graduated from Loughborough University in 2018 with a Masters in Aeronautical Engineering and a Diploma in Industrial Studies. During her degree she completed a placement year at ITP Aero working in both jet engine design and certification. Currently Jennifer is a PhD student at Loughborough University researching jet engine noise cancellation through metamaterial acoustic liners.

    Milada Williams

    MSc, Ing, BEd, IEng, MIED, FWES
    Ordinary Council Members
    My career spans diverse areas of industry, education and gender equity agenda. I started my engineering education in Czechoslovakia, as it was then, by attending my local Technical College from the age of 14 - 18, then Technical University before moving to UK following the Soviet military invasion of Czechoslovakia. I have faced many obstacles in my engineering career in the UK during the late 60s and early 70s and my career in engineering did not take off until later in Germany.