Non-Executive Director's shortlisting reflects her 'enormous' contribution

Alison McKinna, a non-executive director for Cancer Central, Acivico Group, Chesterfield Royal Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, the Collaborative Procurement Partnership LLP and Westbourne School Governor, has been shortlisted for the Women in IT 'Board Director of the Year Award'.

Alison is one of just seven finalists shortlisted for the prestigious award which recognises 'the impactful role of a female board member or senior executive board member of a company or not-for-profit organisation such as an endowment or charitable organisation.' Held annually, the Women In IT Awards seek to identify female high-achievers, advocates and role models in the UK tech sector.

Avril Chester, the founder of Cancer Central - which aims to help people affected by cancer find the support they need, says she is delighted to see a board director of a social enterprise shortlisted for such a prestigious award. Avril submitted a joint award entry for Alison on behalf of Cancer Central, Acivico Group, Chesterfield Royal Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Collaborative Procurement Partnership LLP and Westbourne School.

"Alison has been with Cancer Central for just shy of a year, yet her impact has been enormous." comments Avril, Founder and CEO of Cancer Central. "As a hugely influential figure, she guides, advises, checks through the details and lends a listening ear. Being keen to demonstrate Alison’s focus on social impact, we reached out to other boards Alison sits on and within 24 hours every single one of them had responded with a nomination. That speaks volumes."

Mathew Mallett, the COO at Cancer Central, said: "Alison’s insights into Healthcare, Governance, risks and audit, combined with her passion to make a difference, has enabled the Cancer Central board to progress at pace through some challenging areas that, without her expertise, we would still be attempting to address. This, coupled with her great sense of humour and affable nature, has made our board much stronger."

Representatives from other organisations which work with Alison, echo Avril and Mathew's comments.

Dr Helen Phillips, Chair and Angie Smithson, Chief Executive, Chesterfield Royal Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, saying:

"With around 12 years’ experience as a non-executive director in the NHS, Alison is a real advocate for patient care improvement that is underpinned by digital innovation.

"Her determined and passionate approach to 'digital first' has proved to be a major influence in the Joined Up Care Derbyshire Integrated care system. She has been a key influencer in the creation of a cross partnership 'data warehouse' that will enhance information sharing along the whole patient-pathway - as well as making the most of valuable NHS resource."

Ian Briggs, Non-Executive Director and Chair of Acivico Group, added: "Always at the forefront of critical issues such as pathways to carbon net-zero and recent national legislation on building safety marks Alison out as a highly accomplished individual. In addition, Alison easily overcomes some of the cultural issues sadly still visible in the construction industry where gender for some, remains an issue."

Scott Hinchliffe, Chair of Governors at Westbourne School, said: "Alison has been a Governor at Westbourne school with a special interest in safeguarding and running the Safeguarding Committee for two years, where we have seen a marked improvement and terrific interaction and support offered to the staff. Over that time, she has become a valuable member of the Board and has helped greatly this last year in particular advising the Designated Safeguarding Lead on moving teaching to online lessons in response to COVID."

Dawn Hanwell, Chief Financial Officer & Deputy Chief Executive, Leeds and York Partnership NHSFT and board member for Collaborative Procurement Partnership LLP comments: "Alison has brought good insight and clarity from the perspective of a non-executive board member to help us understand what good data and reporting looks like. Alison has led on shaping our enhanced reporting requirements which have enabled us to focus on the business strategy of delivering procurement savings across the NHS working with NHS supply chain."

The winner of the Women in IT 'Board Director of the Year Award' will be announced at an online awards ceremony on June 24.

Notes to Editors

For more editorial information contact, Sharon Kerby:
Mb: 07989 487046

Cancer Central
Cancer Central is the first award winning HealthTech cancer platform using AI to guide people affected by cancer to find the support and information they need. It is a young social enterprise created from over 55,000 donated hours. Founded by Avril Chester in 2018 after noting the disparate channels to find support for practical issues and services such as local societies or daily radiotherapy taxi hire to deeply personal ones such as financial, hats or wigs, during her diagnosis and treatment for breast cancer. She started her mission to create a centralised hub, to help people affected by cancer to find the Information and support they need. A place for both cancer patients and their carer's.

Chesterfield Royal Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
Chesterfield Royal Hospital NHS Foundation Trust is a 550 bedded NHS Acute Hospital with a 24 hour Emergency Department and serving a population of more than 400,000 in and around Chesterfield and North East Derbyshire. The ‘Royal’ family consists of more than 4,500 staff and 150 volunteers who provide the full range of acute services alongside community midwifery, specialist children’s services and GP and Primary Care Services. For more information please visit

Acivico Group
Acivico Group Is a multi-disciplinary building services consultancy. It employs 145 people and provides a range of design, building control, professional services and asset management services. The consultancy has been involved in the delivery of some of the most prestigious construction projects in the West Midlands region including Centenary Square, the redevelopment of Paradise Circus, HS2 and the 2022 Commonwealth Games. For more information, visit

Collaborative Procurement Partnership LLP
CPP is a commercial organisation owned by four NHS Trusts providing procurement services. CPP puts the contracts in place for specific product categories that ensures the NHS has the right equipment, products and services at the right price and the right quality for individual trusts or groups of trusts.

Westbourne School
Westbourne is the Top school in Sheffield and 7th nationwide, according to the Sunday Times School Guide 2018. Based in the leafy historic suburbs of Sheffield, Westbourne School has been championing co-education in the City for over 30 years and is the only established co-educational independent school in Sheffield offering first class education to children from the age of 3 to 16. It's mission is to offer a student-focused environment of educational excellence, ensuring that every pupil reaches their full, individual potential; It's values of excellence, resilience, inclusion and respect are practised daily amongst its staff and pupils.

Westbourne is about to embark on a £3 million development plan to create a large two storey hall, a gymnasium and three new classrooms. There will also be glass fronted reception, as well as office space, toilets, circulation space, a new covered playground and internal alterations to the existing buildings. One of the main features of the project will be a new early years learning classroom and enhanced facilities that will provide a free flow between the indoor and outdoor play areas. The project reflects Westbourne’s successful and sustained growth in recent years.

Women in IT Awards
According to a report by The World Bank, women make up less than 40% of the total global workforce. Recent findings from Women in Digital and Woman Tech Network show that in Europe only 17% of ICT specialists are women, only 34% of STEM graduates are women, and women in the ICT sector are earning 19% less than men. While progression around gender equity has, arguably, taken larger leaps than other areas of inclusion, there is still much more to be done. The prestigious Women in IT Awards initiative, presented by DiversityQ, has been working to change these statistics since 2015, by providing a regional and global platform to showcase advocates, role models and allies working together to break digital boundaries and promote the importance of a more inclusive tech sector.

Attached Media

About Cancer Central

A young social enterprise with a big mission & vision. We are the first award winning HealthTech cancer platform using AI to guide people affected by cancer to find the support and information they need. Our organisation has been created from over 55,000 donated hours from 250+ individuals, 50+ organisations in an approach we call cominovation (community + innovation). Cancer Central is powered by a HealthTech chat bot, Ask Ave®, a virtual assistant that learns as it interacts.

Press Contacts