Ruth Owen OBE
CEO, Leonard Cheshire
Ruth became CEO for Leonard Cheshire in 2021. A wheelchair user from the age of seven, Ruth believes passionately in the importance of independent mobility in a disabled person’s life and in removing the barriers disabled people face.
Prior to Leonard Cheshire, Ruth spent 17 years as CEO of Whizz-Kidz, a national children’s disability charity providing mobility equipment. Under Ruth’s leadership, the charity became the biggest provider of powered and lightweight manual wheelchairs for disabled children and young people outside of the NHS and a leading campaigning organisation.
Before moving to Whizz-Kidz, Ruth forged a successful career in the private sector, in technologies, eventually setting up and running her own IT company for ten years. In 2012 she was awarded an OBE in recognition of her services to disabled children and young people. In the same year she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Hull University for her services to disabled children.
Highlights of her work include:
Trustee of children’s charity Barnardo’s for several years.
Appointed as a non-Executive Director of Motability Operations Group in 2018.
Selected as a member of The Mayor of London’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Group in 2019.
Former Chair of Regional Stakeholder Network Disability Unit for Greater London, appointed by the DWP in 2020.
Chosen by the Disability Unit of the Cabinet Office to become a DPO Forum Member (Disabled Persons’ Organisation), a representative body whose primary aim is the empowerment and the growth of self-advocacy of persons with disabilities.