Nanette Mellor, Chief Executive Officer at The Brain Charity

A message from Nanette Mellor, The Brain Charity’s outgoing CEO

Nanette Mellor shares her thoughts as she gets ready to move on from The Brain Charity

As you may already be aware, Nanette Mellor, CEO of The Brain Charity, is leaving the organisation after 9 years in charge. Details of Nanette’s successor will be shared in due course, but for now, please find a letter from her below.


Many of you will have heard by now that I will be leaving The Brain Charity at the end of May.

I have been working at The Brain Charity for 9 years, and will soon be taking on the CEO role at Drake Music, an organisation which supports deaf, disabled and neurodivergent people to take part in music.

Ringside seats at wrestling matches, getting told off at Scotland Yard, too many ballgowns, free badges at KFC’s headquarters and falling off the back of a motorbike in Wales. It’s all been in a day’s work at The Brain Charity – and my goodness, how lucky I have been.

I’ve got mixed feelings about the move, which range from excitement to fear. Not only am I moving from one organisation to another, I am also moving from the social care sector to the arts sector, a move I have always longed for, but due to lack of self-confidence, have never attempted.

Nanette Mellor smiling at camera
Nanette Mellor

This is the part that causes me the most anxiety. When I look at the arts world from the outside it always appears to be just a little bit more intelligent, more sophisticated and a whole lot more elegant than I am.

I love going to art galleries and classical concerts, but I never talk to strangers when I go to them. Why? So they don’t get a whiff of my working class background. So they don’t see through the facade of pretend cleverness and find out how few books I’ve actually read.

I don’t know why those feelings of inadequacy are still there. I know they shouldn’t be. But those old thoughts and feelings always creep in and tap me on the shoulder and reminding me of who I really am.

So why now? Why take the risk? Well, I’m wise enough now to know that I’m not that wise, and so it’s important to listen to the people who have been around a bit longer than I have. Many of them have quoted the saying ‘It’s the risks you don’t take in life that you’ll regret, not the mistakes you make’.

Anyway, what’s the worst that could happen? I could take on the role, fail, get the sack and then not be able to keep up with the mortgage. Ok, that’s quite a big risk. But it’s like my partner Kenny says; ‘So? We can just go and live in the forest.’ I think he’d probably prefer that anyway.

It’s funny, because I had exactly the same thoughts when deciding to leave my last job and start this one. I never really saw myself as a leader. I thought; ‘I’ll just pretend to be someone else’. I did for a while, and in some of the earlier videos of me at The Brain Charity, you can hear me trying to be a bit posh.

When people ask me the thing I am most proud of about my work here, I often say it’s seeing those around me grow. It has been so important for me to make sure our organisation champions and develops individuals who face barriers and lack confidence.

And it’s so strange, that in turn, it has done exactly the same thing for me. By allowing me to make mistakes, sticking by me through the tough times and picking me back up again when I have fallen, you’ve given me the confidence to take my next big step. I will never forget you for that.

Categories: Guest blogs, News

Published: 2 May 2023