Building Common Purpose: Adding Value

The opportunities for creating a good society and a strong economy are too important to leave to one sector but too often the voluntary, public and private sectors act as though each has a monopoly on what to do. We all talk about partnership but we end up working in silos; we talk about trust but build barriers to creating that trust; we talk about learning from each other, but fail to value the contribution people make who come with different experiences.

We can do something about it.

The contribution each sector makes is enhanced by interaction, understanding and co-operation: the combined effect really is greater than the sum of the parts.

I believe we all have a part to play and I’m committed to making sure that equality and diversity underpins all we do. I’m passionate about making sure women’s voices are heard and women’s experiences are recognised. Often that experience is gained in voluntary sector roles: that experience is transferable.

I’m working with civil society bodies, with business, social enterprises and with the public sector to build the connections, to recognise our differences and turn them to our advantage for the common good. I know how regulation can help and hinder; how leadership can inspire; how vital it is to challenge and hold to account; how important it is to build bridges and create value.

Follow me on Twitter to find out more.

Who am I?

I am the Chair of Breast Cancer Now, created from the merger of Breakthrough Breast Cancer and Breast Cancer Campaign and Chair of Sustrans, the charity that makes it easier for people to walk and cycle. I’m also a Trustee of UnLtd, supporting social entrepreneurs. I founded Public Benefit, an organisation that delivers consultancy, mentoring and coaching for people in the not for profit sector who want to enhance thier impact. Until recently I was Chair of the Commission to the Voluntary Sector and Ageing, Deputy Chair of the Canal and River Trust and Chair of Bwrdd Glandŵr Cymru (the Trust in Wales) and a non-executive Director of Cambridge University Hospitals Foundation Trust.

I’m working with a number of universities including Cass Business School, City, University of London, where I am a Visiting Professor, and Lucy Cavendish College, University of Cambridge, where I am a Fellow Commoner. My work is focused on linking the corporate and voluntary sectors, supporting social enterprise and encouraging women’s leadership and professional experiences to be valued in all sectors.

I have been Chair, Chief Executive, Trustee and Non-Executive Director of many public and third sector bodies and an advisor to enterprises, the corporate sector and community businesses. I have been named by Cranfield University as one of the 100 Women to Watch’ in relation to the Boards of the FTSE100

Until September 2011 I was Chief Executive of WRVS (now RVS) and previous posts include Chief Executive of the General Social Care Council, the Equal Opportunities Commission, and the Family Welfare Association and Executive Director (CEO) of the Charity Commission. I have served on many Government bodies including the Office of Civil Society Advisory Board and several Better Regulation Taskforces, most recently to reduce burdens on charities and social enterprise.

I have been a trustee of many other organisations
including Cumberland Lodge, Pro Bono Economics,
NCVO and the National Centre for Social Research.
I was Chair of CPAG and Vice Chair of the
Deakin Commission on the Future of the
Voluntary Sector and have received a
number of honours including an OBE
and several Honorary Doctorates
and Fellowships.

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