Eleanor Southwood, Chair
Eleanor Southwood was born with a genetic condition called Leber’s congenital amaurosis and she has never had any useful sight. She grew up in Derby with her parents and younger sister, who also has the same sight condition.
She joined RNIB as a Trustee in 2010. During her time as a Trustee Eleanor has held several roles, including as a Governor at Sunshine House. She led the development of RNIB’s growing Connect Community of blind and partially sighted people, their friends, and supporters. She became Vice Chair in 2012, and Chair in 2017.
Eleanor has particular interest in how RNIB and partner organisations can tackle the lack of employment opportunities and representation in civic and public life for blind and partially sighted people.
Outside RNIB, she is a local Councillor in Brent, north west London. Eleanor was first elected in 2014 and now has borough-wide responsibility for waste, parking, transportation, roads, pavements and open spaces.
She has worked in the public, commercial, and not-for-profit sectors. Her roles have included policy and research work on improving public services, recruitment for senior jobs in a range of public and charitable organisations, and consultancy work to help organisations going through change.
Eleanor has a Masters in Organisational Behaviour and a first degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from Oxford University.