Cathy Dean - Chief Executive Officer


Conservation of endangered species and the environment is the single most important issue for me. My fundraising, organisational and team-building skills mean that the best way I can contribute to the conservation cause is to work in the charity sector. Save the Rhino International has, effectively, become a way of life for me: I have whole-heartedly signed up to the charity, running marathons and ultra marathons to raise money, and recruiting supporters who respond to our pragmatic, bold and irreverent approach.

Cathy Dean studied art history at university, before working in a series of specialist art bookshops and publishers. She then joined Tate, as Campaign Manager for the Tate Modern and Tate Britain Capital Campaigns, which successfully raised more than £60 million from the private sector. As the opening of Tate Modern drew near, she moved into project and budget management to help ensure the smooth opening of the new gallery in May 2000, on time and on budget.

Cathy then worked freelance for a year, acting as fundraising consultant to a range of organisations including the National Academy of Writing.

Her life changed forever when, in November 2000, she and her husband Kenneth Donaldson went on a wildlife trip to Madagascar. Standing in the middle of a newly proclaimed national park, and having seen silky sifakas, dwarf chameleons, giraffe-necked weevils and painted frogs, she realised that fundraising for conservation issues was the most important work she could do.

In July 2001, an advertisement appeared in The Guardian: "Director, Save the Rhino International". Not knowing any better at that stage, Cathy thought that, with only one species involved, she had a chance of learning quite a lot about rhino conservation. Several interviews later, she took up the post at Save the Rhino, and has never looked back.

A six-month sabbatical in 2011 with husband Kenneth, spent working with Save the Rhino Trust in Namibia and the Dambari Wildlife Trust in Zimbabwe, attending the 2011 African Rhino Specialist Group meeting in Mokhala National Park and producing a draft national rhino strategy for Zimbabwe, only cemented further her desire to support the terrific people who run the field programmes that Save the Rhino supports.