Trudi Mitchell appointed UNHCR Australia’s new CEO

Trudi Mitchell appointed Australia for UNHCR’s new CEO


Trudi Mitchell has been appointed Australia for UNHCR’s new Chief Executive Officer, with her set to focus on working with the team to assist more people in reaching safety, during a time of record global displacement.

Mitchell takes the helm after serving as Deputy National Director since 2016, and replaces founder and former National Director, Naomi Steer, who stepped down after twenty-two years in the role. 

“I’m enormously excited to be appointed Chief Executive Officer of Australia for UNHCR,” Mitchell said in a statement. “I look forward to taking the organisation from strength to strength in our work for refugees.”

“It is a great privilege to be leading Australia for UNHCR at this challenging time when more than 100 million people are displaced worldwide due to conflict and persecution.”

“My focus will be on working with my team at Australia for UNHCR to achieve its vision of empowering refugees worldwide. More than 100,000 Australians support our work and I hope we can increase that number.” 

Board Chair Michael Dwyer noted Mitchell’s extensive leadership experience in the NFP sector and genuine compassion for refugees and displaced people.

“She is also highly respected by staff, partners and colleagues at UNHCR globally.” 

Having played a crucial role in the organisation’s technology investments to improve advocacy and increase fundraising for refugees, Mitchell will step into the role with extensive experience in senior management across various not-for-profit organisations. 

Her previous positions include Director of Marketing and Communications at the Cancer Council NSW, Director of Weave Youth and Community Services, board member of Fundraising Institute of Australia (FIA) and board member of Emergency Action Alliance (EAA).

Last year, she was named Fundraising Institute of Australia’s 2021 Fundraiser of the Year.

“Fundraising is not easy but is certainly very rewarding,” Mitchell said in a statement after her win. 

“You have to adapt, innovate and it’s always pretty clear whether you’ve achieved your targets or not. I must say, this award made me reflect on how many incredible donors, organisations, people, and beneficiaries I have been privileged to meet and work with over my career.”

“It made me proud to be a fundraiser even though that title is a bit misleading – it’s a rollup of being a strategist, running transformational projects, being a leader and change-maker, crisis manager, and data analyst to name a few things. You could probably add tea maker and counsellor to the list.”

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