Elly's story

Chief Executive of the Bromley by Bow Centre

“I strongly believe in what we do.  My job is to ensure we continue doing it well into the future, enabling others to emulate our approach and do the same in their communities”

Elly de Decker moved from her role as executive director of the Centre to take on the role of chief executive from January 2023.

Elly came to us from the National Lottery Community Fund in October 2021 where she was England Director and successfully managed multi-million pound funding programmes. After six years, her diverse career background made her keen to reconnect with grassroots activity in a leading community charity. She knew about the Centre and its approach and was keen to head up the staff team.

Born and raised in Belgium, Elly left the country after 25 years and began an exciting period of career and travel.  She did an MBA in the US then worked in London for five years as a management consultant in a top global firm.

Fired up by her social conscience and interest in health (she originally planned to study medicine), Elly joined humanitarian organisation Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) as a financial controller. She worked in Bangladesh on a project supporting Rohingya refugees fleeing violence and persecution in Myanmar.

After a short spell back in London, Elly went with MSF to work in a remote part of The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Years of war and ethnic conflict had left the country devastated with almost no food or medical supplies.  Elly coordinated MSF’s work in a particular area, setting up and running health centres, rolling out vaccination campaigns and setting up a TB programme.

After two stints working in the DRC, Elly was ready for a more stable life.  She settled back in the UK and worked for Save the Children for two years where she built expertise on charity business models.

Since joining the Centre, Elly has developed a detailed understanding of the organisation and the local community and the challenges ahead for both.  She plans to build on the legacy she inherited and establish strong foundations for a sustainable and bright future for the Bromley by Bow Centre.