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About our Commissioners

David Isaac CBE (Chair)

David is a partner at law firm Pinsent Masons and was previously Chair of Stonewall from 2003 to 2012. He is also Chair of Modern Art Oxford, a Director of the Big Lottery Fund and a Trustee of 14-18 Now. David was awarded a CBE in the 2011 Queen’s Birthday Honours list for services to equality and diversity.

Caroline Waters (Deputy Chair)

Currently Vice President of Carers UK and Founder and CEO of CW Consulting Box, Caroline Waters was also Director of People and Policy at BT and has a distinguished record on equality, inclusion, and human resources, and has been the driving force of many diversity-focused groups. She chaired, for example, Employers for Carers from 2001 to 2013, was founder and inaugural Chair of the Employers' Forum on Belief, and Chair of the Lone Parents working group.

She was awarded HR Director of the Year in the 2009 HR Excellence Awards and has also judged a number of prestigious diversity awards including the CRE Race in the Media Awards and Help the Aged's Living Legends.

She was awarded the OBE for services to diversity and equal opportunities in the New Year's list in 2010.

She is a Director of Roffey Park and a member of the Whole Education Board.

Suzanne Baxter

Suzanne is an experienced board member, finance professional and Chair. 

She has been actively involved in the national diversity and women on boards’ agendas and was Deputy Chair and an Advisory Board member to the Business in the Community (BITC) gender equality campaign for over 10 years.

Suzanne has extensive FTSE 250 board experience gained in executive and non-executive roles and is currently a non-executive director of WHSmith plc, where she is also Chair of the Audit Committee. She was formerly Group Finance Director of Mitie Group plc, and her earlier career was spent at Serco and in the accountancy profession with PwC and Deloitte, where she specialised in corporate finance and assurance. 

Her other roles have included Chair of BITC in the South West and Chair of the Business Services Association. 

She was awarded the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales’ (ICAEW) first Inspiring Confidence in Business Award for embedding sustainability and diversity into business strategy and was recognised as Business Woman of the Year in the South West in 2014.

Suzanne is Fellow of the ICAEW and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

Pavita Cooper

Pavita Cooper is recognised as a leading talent and diversity expert; she has over 25 years’ experience as an executive talent leader across a range of multi-sector global blue-chip organisations, including Shell, Barclays and Lloyds Banking Group.

Pavita has acted as an advisor to CEOs, executive teams and business leaders across multiple sectors and geographies.

Pavita is a passionate advocate of greater diversity; she campaigns tirelessly to change the face of British business.

She is a regular speaker on women in business, increasing ethnic diversity and the acceleration of diverse talent in the pipeline to the C-Suite and Boardroom.

Pavita is the daughter of immigrants; her early life experiences shaped her dedication to strive for greater fairness and equality for all parts of society.

She is a Steering Committee member of the 30 Percent Club, in addition she chairs CMI Race.

Pavita was named Woman of the Year at the Asian Business Awards in September 2017.

Alasdair Henderson

Alasdair Henderson is a barrister at 1 Crown Office Row, specialising in public law, human rights, employment law and equality law.

He previously worked in Rwanda for International Justice Mission, investigating cases of land rights violations.

He has been involved in several of the most high-profile public inquiries of recent years, including the Al-Sweady Inquiry, Leveson Inquiry, Litvinenko Inquiry and the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse.

Rebecca Hilsenrath (Chief Executive)

Rebecca Hilsenrath joined the Equality and Human Rights Commission as Legal Officer in March 2014 and was appointed as Chief Executive in 2016.

Prior to that, she was CEO of LawWorks (the Solicitors Pro Bono Group), a national charity facilitating free legal advice to community groups and individuals in need.

After graduating from Cambridge, Rebecca trained and practiced at Linklaters, and then moved to the Government Legal Service, where she held roles in the then Department for Education and Skills and in the Attorney General’s Office.

Rebecca has also established two schools, set up the National Pro Bono Centre in Chancery Lane and has sat on the boards of a number of charities and advice agencies, including the Bar Pro Bono Unit and the Mary Ward Legal Centre. She is currently a non executive director of the Office for Legal Complaints (the board of the Legal Ombudsman).

In 2012, she was listed by the Times among the 100 most influential lawyers in the country, and has been awarded two honorary doctorates in law.

She is married with four sons and a foster daughter and her hobbies include renovating a listed cottage in Snowdonia and writing e-novels.

Susan Johnson OBE

Susan Johnson was, until her retirement in July 2015, Chief Executive at County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service, where she was the first woman and non-uniformed chief executive to lead a Fire and Rescue Service in the United Kingdom.

She previously held a senior position in the Regional Development Agency for Yorkshire and Humber following a career in international marketing in the information technology sector.

Susan was awarded an OBE in 2000 for services to New Deal in the North East, and has held a number of non-executive and trustee roles in the private, public and not for profit sectors including Greggs plc, Legacy Trust UK and Durham University.

Helen Mahy CBE

Helen is chair of the Renewables Infrastructure Group Limited and deputy chair and senior independent director of Primary Health Properties plc, both of which are companies listed on the main market on the London Stock Exchange.

She is also a non-executive director of SSE plc and Bonheur ASA, the latter being listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange. She was, until she retired in 2013, Group Company Secretary and General Counsel of National Grid plc for 10 years. At National Grid she was also executive sponsor of inclusion and diversity, about which she is passionate.

Helen has also been on the boards of Aga Rangemaster Group plc, Stagecoach Group plc and SVG Capital plc.

She qualified as a barrister and was an Associate of the Chartered Insurance Institute.

She is also an accredited performance coach.

Helen is a member of the steering board of the Parker Review in to Ethnic Diversity of UK Boards.

She was also an advisory board member of Opportunity Now.

Helen was awarded a CBE in the Queen’s Birthday honours in 2015, for services to business and voluntary service particularly to the legal profession and Diversity in the Workplace.

Mark McLane

Mark McLane is the Head of Global Diversity and Inclusion for Barclays PLC.

Prior to Barclays, Mark was the Director of Diversity and Inclusion for Booz Allen Hamilton, a professional services firm in Washington DC. 

He also held the position of Chief Diversity Officer for Whirlpool Corporation.

Mark holds the title of Master of The Guild of Human Resource Professionals and additionally holds leadership roles on the OutLeadership leadership committee and GayStar Business advisory board.

In 2014, 2015 and 2016 Mark was recognized by The Guardian’s global LGBT power list, the Financial Times 100 LGBT business leaders in London, and named to the top 50 global Diversity Executives by the Economist.

Dr Lesley Sawers (Scotland Commissioner)

Lesley is currently Executive Chair of GenAnalytics Ltd, a specialist analytical and market insights consultancy focused on business performance improvement linked to equality and diversity in the workplace.

Previously Lesley was Vice Principal and Pro Vice Chancellor for Business, Enterprise and Innovation at Glasgow Caledonian University and Chief Executive of the Scottish Council for Development and Industry. She has also held senior leadership positions at Scottish Power, Royal Mail, CACI, Glasgow Chamber of Commerce and VisitScotland.

She holds a number of senior public appointments with a focus on equalities, social justice and economic growth. She is Deputy Chair of the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency, a Trustee of Glasgow Life and a Non-Executive Board Member of Glasgow City Marketing Bureau. She is also past Chair of Action for Children (Scotland).

Last updated: 08 Jan 2020