Introducing Anna Smith, BDP’s new CEO

Following the sad and untimely passing of Maggie Telfer OBE, we have had a very important role to fill in our organisation. Maggie set BDP up 37 years ago and has been at the helm ever since. She was a massive character, and her work was trailblazing and passionate.  After a lengthy screening and interview process, we are happy to introduce Anna Smith, BDP’s new CEO.

BDP: So welcome Anna  

Anna: Thanks! I am excited and pleased to be joining an organisation with such a rich history and a great reputation in the city and beyond. I have known BDP for many years from my work in different organisations around the city whose work has overlapped with BDP, and I look forward to building on the work done previously as we move forward.  

BDP: You’ve now had some time to find your feet at BDP; how have you been finding it?   

Anna: I’ve had a brilliant welcome from everyone here, and it’s been fantastic to see the dedication and commitment of all the staff to the people who use our services and to working towards our goals as an organisation. As part of my induction, I have been invited to many of the groups and services we run and have been meeting up with our key partner organisations too.   

Myself and Ben Judd, our new Director of Business Development, have hit the ground running with lots of stuff to keep us busy. In my first week, we had a very dangerous batch of heroin circulating in Bristol. It was incredible to see the response from staff and our partner agencies to put measures in place to keep people safe in a dynamic and complex emergency. It helped me see first-hand how vital our work is in not only reducing harm but saving lives. 

With our senior team being rounded out by Lydia Plant’s promotion to Director of Operations, we have our eyes set on the horizon, putting in vital work to prepare BDP for the upcoming commissioning process that is coming up.    

As with starting with any job, there has been a lot to take on, but I’m excited to get cracking.   

BDP: So, what’s your background, and how will this be an asset to BDP moving forward?   

Anna: I’ve been working in public/social services in Bristol and South Gloucestershire for 15 years now, so I know the sector’s landscape very well and have strong connections to Bristol across various organisations and governing bodies. This is my fourth CEO position, with most spread across organisations working to support vulnerable women. My first CEO position was at Survive in South Glos before moving to Advance in London and then back to Bristol to lead One25. Like BDP, all of these services put the needs of the people they support at the of what they do. Most recently, I have been Programme Director at Changing Futures in Bristol, an organisation dedicated to evaluating services and promoting linked-up, contemporary approaches to the support services sector and promoting a ‘system change’ approach.  

BDP: It’s been a big period of change at BDP. What’s your outlook for the next phase in our history?  

Anna: It certainly has, but change also allows positive growth and evolution. I knew and respected Maggie as someone who worked in the sector with her. One25 and BDP had very strong links, which led to our paths crossing a lot. Like many others, I massively respected her work, and she leaves big leopard print boots to fill! However, I am very much looking forward to building on her legacy and leading BDP into its next phase. We’re in a great position. With our fantastic and dedicated team, we are well on our way to making an even greater impact for the people we support. 

4 minute read

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