Marianne Steele

The Donkey Sanctuary

As the first woman to hold top position at The Donkey Sanctuary since its charismatic founder, Marianne has found a way to honour the legacy of Dr Elisabeth Svendsen, while quietly transforming and invigorating one of the UK’s best-known animal welfare charities.

Marianne is a popular, thoughtful and effective leader, determined to do her best, not just for donkeys everywhere but also for staff, volunteers and supporters. In the six months since officially becoming chief executive, she has united the charity behind a new, five-year strategy; overseen a comprehensive review and increase in staff salaries, and has successfully aligned the evolution of the charity’s strategy, brand and culture. Her proudest achievement, however, is uniting the charity behind what she describes as ‘one true North’ where everyone, whether they’re a groom in Ireland, an advocate in Ethiopia or a finance officer in Devon; knows what the charity stands for and how their role contributes to improving the lives of donkeys every day. Marianne has transformed The Donkey Sanctuary with humility and respect for its heritage. Under her leadership the future of these intelligent animals, the people who rely on them all over the world and the organisation itself, is more secure.