STEM Day – Helen Hill

In the Girlguiding world, I am Division Commissioner for Tees West in the county of Cleveland. For those of you familiar with that part of the region, then this is the area south of Stockton-on-Tees. I started in this role during lock-down, so only really got going at the back end of last year. Tees West is a large Division with 24 active units delivering an exciting and balanced programme for 456 young members.

I’ve been a member of Girlguiding since I was a Brownie. The volunteers within this fantastic organisation have helped me to grow into the person I am today. I have also enjoyed numerous opportunities such as playing concerts with the National Scout and Guide Orchestra, visiting 4 out of 5 World Centres and attending World Scout Jamborees in 3 continents.

I volunteer with Girlguiding, as I want to make a difference and give something back. I strongly believe in the positive impact which Girlguiding has on the lives of girls and young women in our communities. I want to make a difference, specifically in getting people more active and encouraging young people to pursue careers in STEM areas.

In the real world, then I’ve worked for just over 20 years as a chemical engineer and then a project manager. The first 10 years was designing chemical plants (from research and development scale to full-scale), developing new technologies and commissioning plants. The second 10 years was spent as a project manager of the same type of projects. My current role is a strategy manager for the Middle East, Africa and India region for Johnson Matthey’s Catalyst Technologies business. In this role, I work together with the engineers and research chemists in the UK, to solve our customers complex problems, especially in the area of decarbonisation. Basically, this means that I am ensuring our customers know about all of our sustainable technologies, as well as looking at how our company could become more global by setting up R&D and engineering centres in the region.  I also volunteer with the IChemE as a professional reviewer of chartered engineer applications.

It is important to me to find time to go running regularly, as this helps me to destress and bring some perspective back to my busy work and volunteering life.

My key messages are:

  • Girlguiding needs to have a diverse mix of adult volunteers to represent all parts of the UK community. Diversity of thought also helps us as an organisation to keep our programme relevant to today’s girls.
  • Adult volunteers are role models for our young members. They don’t get as much careers advice within schools nowadays, so this is an area I like to help in by having conversations with our young members.

Helen Hill


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