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.

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Who am I?

I am the Chair of Breast Cancer Now, created from the merger of Breakthrough Breast Cancer and Breast Cancer Campaign, Chair of the Commission to the Voluntary Sector and Ageing, Deputy Chair of the Canal and River Trust and Chair of Bwrdd Glandŵr Cymru (CRT in Wales); founder of Public Benefit; an associate of Civil Exchange and until recently a non-executive Director of Cambridge University Hospitals Foundation Trust.

I’m working with a number of universities including Cass Business School, City University London, where I am a Visiting Professor, and Lucy Cavendish College, University of Cambridge, where I am a Fellow Commoner, to link the corporate and voluntary sectors, support social enterprise and to encourage 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 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.

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

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