Denise Hatton is Chief Executive Officer at YMCA England & Wales – the national council of 116 independent YMCAs across the country.
London-born Denise started her career with YMCA in 1983 when, at the age of 23, she began working for a couple of hours on a Sunday afternoon in a housing project in central London, alongside her private sector communications job.
Within months, Denise had become full-time personal assistant to one of the organisation’s Regional Secretaries before eventually finding herself at YMCAs in Croydon, in south London and then, Ealing, in west London, as Operations Director.
Her first CEO position came in 2003 at Dartford YMCA (now called YMCA Thames Gateway), which she held for 10 years, before becoming CEO and National Secretary for YMCA England (now YMCA England & Wales).
During her time as CEO of YMCA Thames Gateway, Denise acted as Chair of the Children’s Trust for Dartford and Gravesham borough councils, Independent Chair of the committee to develop the first local authority youth strategy for Dartford and Gravesham borough councils, and third sector representative on the Kent Children’s Trust Board.
Denise says seeing YMCA transform over the years to remain relevant to local needs and the changing external environment is what has kept her motivated and involved with the organisation for so long.
She said: “I enjoy seeing the change we can make to young people’s lives. I can still remember many of the young people I worked with over the years at YMCA, which is why I am so passionate to be a part of this organisation.
“YMCA also paid for and supported me to go to university to complete studies in HR, Training and Development when I first started working with them. At the time, this was not something a person from my background would have been able to do.
“The most important things we can do as an organisation is to see people – whether they are young people, staff or volunteers – to realise their potential; to strive for quality at all times and to emphasise trust, openness and transparency in everything we do. That is how we work with young people and I believe this should be reflected across all of YMCA.”
Denise lives in Bromley, in Kent, with her husband, engraver, David, and two teenage daughters, Cara and Mia.
- Jo Chettleburgh, Director of Income Generation
- Jamie Hutchinson, Director of Resources
- Jason Stacey, Director of Policy, Research, Communications and International