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Dr Silke Ackermann, Director, History of Science Museum, Oxford University
Silke is Director of the History of Science Museum, and was the first female director of a university museum in Oxford since the founding in 1683. Silke is a medievalist and orientalist by training with a particular interest in the transfer of knowledge between the Islamic World and Europe. She worked for 16 years in different roles at the British Museum before taking up a professorship at the University of Applied Sciences in Schwerin, Germany where she was later appointed President. In March 2014 she returned to the UK to take up her present position in Oxford. Silke takes a particular interest in leadership in the cultural sector and acts as coach and mentor to colleagues in the UK and other parts of Europe.
Alex Beard CBE, Chief Executive, Royal Opera House
Alex has been Chief Executive of the Royal Opera House (ROH) since 2013. During his tenure the ROH has undertaken a major transformation of its public facilities including the creation of a new world class theatre and an extension of its digital presence and reach, strengthening its reputation as one of the world's leading lyric theatre organisations. Alex is Chair of High House Production Park Ltd, a member of the Board of 14-18 NOW, and a board member of the West End Partnership (the lead strategic body for investment in London's West End) and Global Giving UK. Alex was educated at King's College London. After a year at KPMG he joined the Arts Council in 1986. In 1995 he was appointed Director of Finance and Administration of Tate, then Director of Business in 1999 and Deputy Director in 2002. At the end of 2012 Alex was appointed a CBE for his services to the arts, and was made a Fellow of Kings College London in 2016.
Dr Oliver Cox, Heritage Engagement Fellow, TORCH | The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities
Oliver founded the Thames Valley Country House Partnership, a partnership linking entrepreneurial ideas in the heritage sector with researchers at the University of Oxford. He coordinates a range of collaborative projects with the UK and international heritage sectors, co-supervises the flagship Trusted Source Knowledge Transfer Partnership with the National Trust, and is responsible for developing long term strategic partnerships for the University of Oxford. Oliver is a historian by training, and has published widely on Gothic Revival architecture, landscape gardening, patriotism, and the country house. He is a member of the Faculty of History (University of Oxford); Senior Scholar at University College, Oxford; Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts; a Council Member of the Oxfordshire Records Society; Governor of Compton Verney House Trust; and sits on the Education and Publications Committee of The Gardens Trust and Arts Council England’s Designation Panel.
Rachel Davies, Director of Operations, Ashmolean Museum
After beginning her career as a chartered accountant, Rachel worked in the private sector for 10 years for organisations such as The Observer Newspaper and Walt Disney before turning to the arts. An MA in Museum and Gallery Management led to a role in the Tate Modern Project Team, where she was responsible for the financial aspects of transforming the disused power station into the cultural icon it is today, and later the Senior Management Team. Rachel joined Compton Verney when it was also a building project, and helped this new and independent organisation to build an audience and create an operating model that was self-supporting and sustainable. Rachel was responsible for the delivery of the initial capital project, the development of the Business Plan including managing 50% cuts to core income, setting up retail, outsourcing catering and establishing and growing a hire business. She also oversaw the delivery of an HLF funded capital project to transform the Capability Brown grounds, the development of a site masterplan, an endowment management review, and staff structure review. Rachel moved on from this role to become Director of Operations at the Ashmolean Museum, and is currently responsible for building an integrated and cost effective approach to managing, maintaining and developing Museum operations to deliver an excellent and inclusive visitor experience and create a good working environment for staff and volunteers.
Ciara Eastell OBE, Consultant (People and Culture), Tate
Ciara is currently leading a major programme of transformation and organisation development at Tate as part of the Executive team. She is also Professor of Practice in the Centre for Leadership Studies at the University of Exeter’s Business School. Ciara has a long track record in public service. For over 10 years, she led the library service in Devon through transformational change which culminated in the establishment of Libraries Unlimited, where she was the founding CEO for 3 years. Ciara was a Clore Fellow in the first year of the Clore Leadership Programme in 2004/5, is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and is on the National Council for Arts Council England. She was awarded an honorary degree from the University of Sheffield in January 2019 and awarded an OBE for services to libraries in 2017.
Kaywin Feldman, Director, National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
In March 2019, Kaywin became Director of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. She is the fifth director in the Gallery's history and the first woman to hold this important national position. Prior to joining the Gallery, Kaywin led the Minneapolis Institute of Art as its Nivin and Duncan MacMillan Director and President. During that time, she doubled attendance, expanded the collection, launched and completed visionary strategic plans, and transformed the museum’s relationship to the Twin City community and to the nation through groundbreaking initiatives such as the Center for Empathy & the Visual Arts. She is a trustee of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the White House Historical Association, and the Chipstone Foundation, and a member of the State Hermitage Museum International Advisory Board. She is a past president of the Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD) and past chair of the American Alliance of Museums (AAM). She has lectured widely and published numerous articles on many aspects of museums in the 21st century.
Rebecca Foy, Director of Public Engagement, Bletchley Park
Rebecca is responsible for leading the teams that deliver all aspects of Bletchley Park’s engagement with the public. This covers pre-visit marketing and communications, day-to-day visitor operations, and education and outreach programmes, through to the delivery of exhibitions and access to the collection. All these teams are committed to providing an excellent service to Bletchley Park’s visitors and ensuring it continues to be a high quality visitor attraction. Rebecca’s teams have the challenge of welcoming and accommodating more people than ever before as Bletchley Park experiences unprecedented visitor numbers. Prior to joining the Trust in January 2015, Rebecca worked for eight years for the National Trust, at both Tyntesfield and Cliveden, in visitor experience and operations roles and is familiar with dealing with high numbers of visitors. Dedicated to inspiring and leading others in delivering great customer service, Rebecca was involved in the concept and delivery of the National Trust’s Service Leadership programme and worked in partnership with other visitor experience managers nationally on various initiatives. Before joining the heritage industry, Rebecca worked in retail for several years after completing a Medieval and Modern History degree at the University of Birmingham.
Tom Hammond-Davies, Conductor
Tom is an award-winning choral conductor and the Founder and Artistic Director of the Oxford Bach Soloists and the Blenheim Singers. With the Oxford Bach Soloists he is currently engaged in a pioneering project which will see the performance of the complete vocal works of J. S. Bach in chronological order as the composer himself would have realised them, using performers, instruments, and venues that echo the spaces of Bach’s hometown of Leipzig. As Artistic Director of the Blenheim Singers, inspired by Blenheim Palace’s UNESCO World Heritage Status, he has sought to emphasise the importance of cultural dialogue. Tom also acts as Musical Director of the Wooburn Singers, Director of Music for the City Church of St Michael at the North Gate, Oxford, and is a Trustee of the Sir George Dyson Trust.
Dr Pegram Harrison, Senior Fellow in Entrepreneurship, Saïd Business School
Pegram's research and teaching concern entrepreneurship and leadership particularly in cultural contexts. Since 2008 he has taught entrepreneurship, leadership, strategy and heritage management to executives and Diploma students at the Saïd Business School, as well as on the MBA and undergraduate programmes. He also runs Saïd’s programme of teaching and research “Engaging with the Humanities”. Pegram helped to start the Oxford Cultural Heritage Programme, is a member of the University's Thames Valley Country House Partnership Project and is a member of the Oxford Centre for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, and of Brasenose College, Oxford. He also coordinates a joint research programme with the University of Bologna on management and the humanities. These initiatives link researchers with cultural institutions, policy leaders, development agencies, digital technology providers and civic officials. Beyond Oxford, Pegram works with various cultural organisations on research into new business models for enhancing museum engagement and is a founder member of the Pan European Entrepreneurship Research Group, an association of researchers based at the Paris-Dauphine University who work on European entrepreneurship and higher education.
Professor Simon Hiscock, Director, University of Oxford Botanic Garden and Arboretum
Simon took up the directorship of the University of Oxford Botanic Garden and Arboretum (OBGA) in 2015. He is leading a programme of change to transform OBGA into a world class University institution through a strategic plan focused on science in the form of research, teaching, conservation and public engagement. Previously, Simon held the post of Professor of Botany and Director of the Botanic Garden at the University of Bristol, where he lead the development of a new botanic garden for the University that brought a whole new scientific focus to its botanical collections in terms of their use and presentation. Simon is a specialist in evolutionary genetics and plant reproductive biology; his research seeks to understand fundamental processes in plant reproduction, adaptation and speciation using molecular genetics, population genetics, genomics and ecology. Simon has also co-created Oxford Physic Gin, a unique collaboration between the University, Botanic Garden and The Oxford Artisan Distillery (TOAD) to create a premium gin celebrating the history and usage of the garden.
Caroline Jones, Museum Director and CEO, the Story Museum
Caroline is the Director & CEO of the Story Museum, a most unusual Museum coming to life in Oxford which aims to enrich young lives through story. She holds the strategic and executive responsibility for this creative enterprise with a social mission, has lead the fundraising for the recent capital redevelopment and oversees the day-to-day running of the museum alongside a team of 30 colleagues. Prior to this, Caroline spent 15 years in development roles at several leading cultural organisations including the Roundhouse, the Orpheus Centre, the Young Vic Theatre and the Royal Shakespeare Company - the latter two as Development Director during major capital projects and campaigns. As a consultant she supported executive teams and boards to create successful sustainable strategies for their capital and revenue funding needs; clients included Bristol Old Vic, National Centre for Circus Arts, 14-18NOW, and Northern Stage in Newcastle. She has served as Trustee of two producing theatre companies and is currently a Trustee of the Story Museum and Director of its trading subsidiary. Caroline is part of the 2019 OCL cohort and continues to draw from the experience, ideas and relationships formed during the programme.
Diane Lees CBE, Director General, Imperial War Museums
Diane is the Director-General of Imperial War Museums, the cultural lead for the Centenary of the First World War, and is a Trustee of 14-18NOW, the Centenary’s Cultural Programme. Diane is a Trustee of the IWM Development Trust and The Gerry Holdsworth Special Forces Trust. She serves as Vice President of the American Air Museum in Britain, she is a member of the Women Leaders in Museums Network (WLMN) and of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust’s Experts’ Reference Group. Since 2016, Diane has chaired a review of the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE)’s Museums, Galleries and Collections Fund. From April 2013 to March 2017, Diane chaired the National Museum Directors’ Council (NMDC). In December 2014, Diane was awarded a CBE in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours list for services to museums, and in July 2015, was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Letters Degree by the University of Reading. In June 2017 she was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Arts by Nottingham Trent University. In April 2018 she was appointed Chair to the University of Lincoln’s Board of Governors.
Miki Lentin, Communications Consultant
Miki is a senior strategic communications and marketing professional with over twenty years of experience across the public and private sectors. He was previously Head of Corporate Affairs at the UK’s national library, the British Library, with responsibility for corporate strategy, communications, marketing, content production, public policy and community engagement. Miki has a keen interest in the role cultural organisations have as neighbours within their cities and communities. This led to his creation of London’s leading innovation district, the ‘Knowledge Quarter’, a visionary concept to transform engagement and partnership by the major culture, research, academic and science institutions in and around King’s Cross, London. Miki also played a key role in developing the Library’s ‘Living Knowledge’ (2015-23) strategy, managing its communication and integration across business areas. Throughout his career, he has led high-impact and creative communications projects including: the Library’s 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta in 2015; broadcast partnerships with BBC4, Discovery and Sky Arts, and major brand marketing campaigns. Within the private sector, he has managed the communications and public relations for consumer brands such as Sony Ericsson, Warner and the Royal Institution. Miki brings a broad range of personal experience to his innovative and entrepreneurial thinking. He is a Trustee of the Reading Agency and an advisor to The Francis Crick Institute’s Living Centre.
Monica O. Montgomery, Curator of Special Projects, Arts and Industries Building, Smithsonian
Monica is the Curator of Special Projects and Programming with the Smithsonian Institution's Arts and Industries Building. As an arts administrator and independent curator she uses her platforms to be in service to society, working at the intersection of equity, community and diversity in museums. She has curated social themed exhibits, experiences and festivals with renowned organisations including the South African Embassy, Brooklyn Museum, The Highline, Portland Art Museum and National Trust for Historic Preservation. Monica has delivered a TedX talk, "How to be an upstander", challenging everyone to stand up, speak up and act for social good. She has honed her talents over two decades in culture, nonprofits and universities as: graduate professor, executive director, diversity trainer, festival planner, program manager, marketer, fundraiser, event producer and museum educator. Monica teaches graduate courses around Museums and Social Change at: Harvard University, American University, Pratt Institute and NYU; and was a visiting scholar at Mississippi State University in Starkville, MS and the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, MN. She frequently lectures at Princeton University, Georgetown University, Columbia University, Johns Hopkins University, University of the Arts, and University of Maryland and Howard University’s James A. Porter Colloquium. She is the co founder and strategic director of Museum Hue, leading the premiere multicultural group, in advancing the visibility and viability of BIPOC in museums, building diverse representation and equity through advocacy with members throughout Europe and North America. She is also a 2019 Oxford Cultural Leader alumna.
Tim Morris, Professor of Management Studies, Saïd Business School
Tim has been a professor at the University of Oxford’s Saïd Business School since 2002. Before taking up his role at Oxford, he was a professor at Imperial College, London, and at London Business School. At Oxford, he teaches on a number of the School’s executive programmes helping leaders grapple with the complex organisational challenges they face. He has also provided consulting advice to government, private sector and non-profit organisations. His research, teaching and consulting activities are closely interlinked. He has developed and written extensively about models of innovation and competitive advantage in organisations of professionals. He uses these proprietary models in working with those running professional organisations help them to become more effective. His other research, conducted with colleagues at Oxford Saïd Business School, examines the role and development of CEOs in large corporations. Based on interviews with over 150 CEOs worldwide, this research explores what it takes to lead a large corporation today. It was launched at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, and has been widely covered in the media. He has published his research extensively in leading international journals as well as authoring several books and numerous chapters in collected editions. His work has been featured in Harvard Business Review, The Economist, Financial Times, CNN and Forbes. Tim has a BA (Hons) from Cambridge University and an MSc and PhD from the London School of Economics.
Richard Ovenden OBE, Bodley's Librarian, Bodleian Libraries
Richard is Bodley's Librarian, the senior executive position of the Bodleian Libraries. Richard has served on the staff of Durham University Library, the House of Lords Library, the National Library of Scotland, the University of Edinburgh, and since 2003 at the Bodleian Libraries (first as Keeper of Special Collections, from 2011-2014 as Deputy Librarian, the Bodleian Libraries, then from 2014 as Bodley’s Librarian). Richard sits on the Board of Research Libraries UK and of the Consortium of European Research Libraries, where he is Treasurer, and is currently President of the Digital Preservation Coalition. He has published widely on the history of collecting, the history of photography and on professional concerns of the library, archive, and information world, and is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and was elected to the American Philosophical Society in 2015. Recently Richard headed Oxford’s involvement with the Google mass digitization project. He holds a Professorial Fellowship at Balliol College, Oxford.
Lizzie Palmer, Storyteller and Brand Consultant
Lizzie is a dynamic, creative and intuitive facilitator and marketing consultant with strong communication, strategic, branding and relationship building skills. She started her career in advertising, working at four agencies before joining Capital Radio as Marketing Director of the group. She later worked at Orange as Director of Worldwide Brand Strategy, Development and Communications, where she was integral in changing the France Telecom operations worldwide to Orange, fostering cultural and behavioural change. Lizzie has also worked with the Channel 4, Big Green Door and Discovery Channel. As a Facilitator and Training consultant she has worked with many companies helping in a range of areas from vision setting to leadership, idea generation, creativity and storytelling in business. She is particularly inspired by improvisational theatre and relating their practices to business. Recent clients include EE, The V&A, the Economist, The MS Society, Green and Blacks and Biogen.
Samenua Sesher OBE, Creative, Coach and Culture Management Consultant
Samenua is a Creative, Coach and Culture Management Consultant. She started her career in theatre and has worked with Nottingham Playhouse, the National Theatre and Ambassadors Theatre Group. She has also worked in television, community arts and heritage. As a cross-artform producer, Samenua has experience of delivering multi-million pound programmes and has fed into national cultural policy, set up and run a local authority culture service, and lectured. She was a 2008/09 Clore Fellow and was awarded an OBE for Services to the Arts in January 2017 and was recognised in the New Year’s Honours List in 2018. Samenua is a People’s Palace Project (PPP) Associate and member of the Advisory Board for The Art of Cultural Exchange (2014-16). PPP is supporting and partnering on her project Museum of Colour, an online project focussing on the creative journeys of British people of colour.
Lucy Shaw, Programme Director, Oxford Cultural Leaders & Head of Partnerships and Programmes at Oxford University’s Gardens, Libraries and Museums
Lucy plays a key leadership role within Oxford University’s Gardens, Libraries and Museums Division, overseeing cross-divisional programmes and activities related to outreach, public engagement with research, community engagement and partnerships. In 2015 she launched Oxford Cultural Leaders, an international executive leadership programme for museums, heritage and the arts, in partnership with the Saïd Business School. The programme has led to new research with the UK’s National Museum Directors’ Council exploring the changing expectations of museum leadership (Museum Leaders Report). Lucy has over 20 years' experience of the museum sector. She started her career as a social history curator in the East Midlands before moving to working at a strategic level with national and regional agencies, professional bodies, and course providers. Before joining the University of Oxford she was running a successful business as a consultant developing, leading and managing projects and programmes that focused on strategic development, organisational change and workforce diversity.
Sally Shaw MBE, Director, Firstsite, Colchester
Sally is Director of Firstsite, Colchester where she has been since 2016. With the team she has delivered a successful turn-around programme realigning Firstsite with a focused, relevant purpose. In an award winning and radical building Firstsite presents world-class visual artists from around the world as well as those living on our doorstep in East Anglia. Headline artists have included Grayson Perry, Lubaina Himid and Cory Arcangel. Sally has swiftly transformed Firstsite from a failing gallery to one which is now a rapidly growing business and creative proposition by thinking radically about equality, diversity and inclusion in all areas of the gallery’s work. Firstsite is also an Arts Council Collection National Partner through its radical co-authoring programme where all exhibitions in the series are co-curated with community leaders, groups and activists including the Black History Month community, Radical Women of Colchester, Refugee Action Colchester and the Colchester Garrison Officers and families. Previously Sally was Head of Programme at Modern Art Oxford, Deputy Head of Culture for the Mayor of London, Chief Curator for London Underground, Director of Media Art – Bath and Residency Programme Manager at Spike Island, Bristol. She has also established a number of independent projects and programmes including an independent commercial gallery in Bristol – LOT – and an artist residency programme in an open prison in Gloucestershire. Sally participated in the first Oxford Museums Cultural Leaders Course in 2015.
Dr Michael Smets, Professor, Saïd Business School
Michael’s research focuses on leadership and the management of competing stakeholder demands in complex, ‘hybrid’ organisations. He is a lead author of the CEO Report, which was launched at the World Economic Forum in Davos, in 2015 and is the lead author of the Museum Leaders Report which was launched in 2018. Previously he conducted a widely-noted “fly on the wall” study of Lloyd’s of London, one of the UK’s oldest financial institutions. At Saïd Business School, Michael teaches modules on leadership, motivation, teams, change and institutional complexity on customised executive education programmes for clients from banking, law, consulting, and accounting. Michael is currently on the “40 under 40” list, recognizing the 40 best business school professors under the age of 40 worldwide. His research has appeared in leading management journals and publications, and has been covered by the Financial Times, Forbes, Bloomberg, CNN, CNBC, the Guardian and other international media.
Professor Paul Smith, Director, Oxford University Museum of Natural History
Paul has worked in museums for over 25 years, an interest sparked during a research post at the Sedgwick Museum, University of Cambridge. This led to a post at the national Geological Museum in Copenhagen and then to the Lapworth Museum of Geology at the University of Birmingham, where he spent much of his career as curator and then director. After a period as head of the multidisciplinary School of Geography, Earth & Environmental Sciences in Birmingham, Paul moved to the University of Oxford in February 2012 to take up the directorship of the Museum of Natural History. His research interests range from geology into zoology, particularly the origin of animal groups and the geology of arctic areas, and in the museums arena has a particular interest in the use of digital technologies and public engagement in science.
Dr Xa Sturgis, Director, Ashmolean Museum
In October 2014, Xa became Director of the Ashmolean Museum having had a distinguished career as the Director of the Holburne Museum, Bath, since 2005. Whilst at the Holburne Xa oversaw a renovation of the Museum that included a £13 million extension. Prior to becoming the Director of the Holburne Museum Xa worked at the National Gallery, London, for 15 years, in various posts including Exhibitions and Programmes Curator from 1999-2005. Xa is an alumnus of University College, Oxford and the Courtauld Institute of Art, London.
Professor Anne Trefethen, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Gardens, Libraries and Museums, University of Oxford
Anne is the Pro-Vice-Chancellor for People and the Gardens, Libraries and Museums, University of Oxford. She was previously the Chief Information Officer and a Professor of Scientific Computing at the University of Oxford, and is a former director of the Oxford e-Research Centre. Anne has worked for almost 20 years in industry and academia with a focus on numerical algorithms and software, computational science and high-performance computing and in recent years more broadly on digitally enabled research. Before joining Oxford, Anne was Director of the UK e-Science Core Programme, having been the Deputy Director for four years. In her industry roles Anne has led the design and development of software products as Thinking Machines Coorporation in the USA and NAG Ltd in the UK. In academia she was a researcher in parallel computing at the Cornell Theory Centre, where she later became the Associate Director for Computational Support and Software and developed on-line educational courses and technology.
Dr Laura Van Broekhoven, Director, Pitt Rivers Museum
Laura is the Director of the Pitt Rivers Museum. She holds a Professorial Fellowship at Linacre College, and is associated with the School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography at Oxford. Previously she led the curatorial department of the National Museum of World Cultures (Amsterdam, Leiden and Berg en Dal) and was a lecturer in archaeology, museum studies and indigenous heritage at the Faculty of Archaeology at Leiden University. She currently serves on numerous advisory boards and panels. Laura's research interests include repatriation and redress, with a focus on the importance of collaboration, inclusivity and reflexive inquiry. Her regional academic research has focused on collaborative collection research with Amazonian (Surinam and Brazil) indigenous peoples, Yokot’an (Maya) oral history, Mixtec indigenous market systems, and Nicaraguan indigenous resistance in colonial times.
Yolanda Vazquez, Presenter/Coach, Olivier Mythodrama
Yolanda is a graduate of The Drama Centre London, she is an Actor, Director and Theatre Practitioner. Her theatre background includes the RSC and The Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. In 2003 Yolanda became a freelance Globe Education Practitioner and has been heavily involved with the development of the Globe Education portfolio both nationally and internationally. In 2006 she developed and led a national training programme for all 260 English consultants for the secondary national strategies on behalf of the DFES (DFE). She is responsible for developing resources and publications for QCDA, Hodder Dynamic Learning and Arden Shakespeare, and still works at many high calibre drama schools. In the last three years she has trained and become an affiliate of Olivier Mythodrama working as a presenter and tutor/coach with companies such as Daimler, Oxford Said Business School, Axa, Avon, IESE and many others.
Dr Nelisha Wickremasinghe, Associate Fellow, Saïd Business School
Nelisha is a psychologist, entrepreneur, educator and international leadership/organisational change. She has postgraduate degrees in psychology and family therapy, a Master’s in public sector management and a Master’s and Doctorate in organisational change. Her work at the boundary of psychotherapeutic practice and management development has taken her across the globe to support organisations like Fujitsu, Thomas Cook, Amec Foster Wheeler, Nielsen, Lloyds Banking Group, Aviva and BT to develop their leaders and implement complex change. She also ran a successful organic food business and restaurant and, for ten years, was a clinical and management lead in the mental health and social care sector. Nelisha is a senior client director at Oxford Saïd Business School, an associate consultant at Hult Ashridge Business School and managing director of her own practice, The Dialogue Space, which provides unconventional, whole-person facilitation and coaching for individuals, groups and organisations. Her professional practice combines brain science and developmental psychology to develop individual, team and system resilience and collaboration in increasingly volatile times.
Oxford Cultural Leaders - previous faculty
Tracey Camilleri, Associate Fellow, Saïd Business School
Tracey is an Associate Fellow at the Saïd Business School and Director of the Oxford Strategic Leadership Programme. At the business school, she specialises in learning design and pedagogic innovation. She also designs and directs customised leadership programmes for clients. Her programmes draw widely from across the University faculty, particularly from the arts and humanities departments where she believes the great case studies of leadership reside. She has worked for several years with The Ashmolean developing leadership sessions using objects from their collection.
Darren Henley OBE, Chief Executive, Arts Council England
Darren previously spent 25 years working in radio, leading Classic FM for fifteen years, first as Managing Editor and then as Managing Director. He was appointed an OBE in 2013 for services to music. Darren has chaired or sat on a range of government advisory boards in the area of cultural education. His two independent government reviews into music education (2011) and cultural education (2012) resulted in the creation of England's first National Plan for Music Education, new networks or Music Education Hubs and Heritage Schools, and Museums and Schools programme, the BFI Film Academy and the National Youth Dance Company. He is the author or co-author of thirty books, including 'The Virtuous Circle: Why Creativity and Cultural Education Count'. It argues that an excellent cultural education is the right of everyone, bringing personal, social and commercial advantages that can only benefit the lives of all individuals in our society. In 2016, Darren's most recent book was published. 'The Arts Divided: Why Investment in Culture Pays' looks in depth at seven key benefits that art and culture bring to our lives. Darren joined the Arts Council in 2015.
Catherine Mallyon, Executive Director, Royal Shakespeare Company
Catherine was appointed as Executive Director of the Royal Shakespeare Company in 2012. She is a Governor of the Company and a member of its Board. Catherine was previously Deputy Chief Executive of Southbank Centre, the largest single-run arts centre in the world. Since 2005 she led all Southbank Centre operational activity and her major projects in that time included reopening Royal Festival Hall after refurbishment in 2007 and the renewal of Hayward Gallery in 2010. In her earlier career in arts management, Catherine was General Manager of Arts and Theatres at Reading Borough Council. There she managed all theatre and arts operations, programmed drama and classical music for the Hexagon and Concert Hall, and co-produced the WOMAD festival. Prior to that, she was General Manager at Oxford Playhouse, including the Burton Taylor Studio Theatre. Catherine trained in general arts administration on Arts Council England's bursary programme, after five years in the City as a trader and analyst. She plays violin regularly with the Oxford Sinfonia.
Neil Mendoza, Provost, Oriel College
Neil was elected as Provost of Oriel College, Oxford in 2018. Neil is a non-executive director of the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. He led two government reviews in 2017 - The Mendoza Review of museums in England and a Strategic Review for the Cabinet Office covering the national museums. Additional government appointments include being a Commissioner of Historic England and a member of the review panel looking into the sustainability of English churches and cathedrals. Neil is also a director of Meira GTx, a gene therapy company, listed on Nasdaq. Neil is Chair of The Landmark Trust, a UK charity dedicated to saving buildings of historical importance; The Illuminated River Foundation, a large art commission project to light London’s bridges and Vice-chair of Soho Theatre in London. Previously, Neil was Chair of Children and the Arts, a nationwide charity dedicated to using cultural work to help children in disadvantaged communities and hospices. He was also a trustee of the Shakespeare Schools Festival and has twice been on the judging panel for the Laurence Olivier Awards. Early in his career Neil founded and ran a publishing company, Forward, that was sold to marketing group, WPP.
Robert Poynton, Associate Fellow, Saïd Business School
Robert designs, facilitates and runs workshops, programmes and retreats for executives and leaders. He has developed an approach based on improvisational theatre to give executives an experience of key ideas and themes in leadership such as complexity, emergence, change and narrative. He co-founded On Your Feet, a US based consultancy that uses ideas, tools, methods and knowledge from improv to work with clients like Intel, Nike, Disney and GE. He also collaborates extensively with brand consultancy eatbigfish in London. He is an Associate Fellow at Green Templeton College, Oxford and at Oxford University’s Saïd Business School, where he has been a contributor to the Oxford Strategic Leadership Programme since 2002. He has written two books entitled Everything’s an Offer and Do Improvise and is currently working on a new book (with Steven D’Souza and Diana Renner) entitled ‘Not Doing’. His work includes the design and creation of individual and group executive retreats to Spain, where he lives. He has also led courses on leadership, change and complexity at IE in Madrid, Ashridge Business School and Schumacher College.
Kathleen Soriano, Curator
Kathleen began her career at the Royal Academy of Arts before moving to the National Portrait Gallery, where as Director of Exhibitions & Collections she was also responsible for national and international programmes. In 2004 she became one of the first cohort of Clore Leadership Fellows, working at the South Bank Centre and the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney. She then worked as Director of Compton Verney before returning to the Royal Academy to take on the role of Artistic Director. In 2014 she set up her own artistic advisory and strategic consultancy company. She has lectured and written, and broadcasted extensively in her field, including presenting the four series of Portrait/Landscape Artist of the Year for SkyArts. She is currently Chair of the Liverpool Biennial, Artistic Director of the Jakober Foundation, Mallorca, and a specialist advisor for the National Trust. Previously she has held roles on the strategic committee of the Grand Palais, Paris, the Wellcome Collection exhibition advisory group, chaired the Churches Conservation Trust’s Art Advisory group, was a founder member of Women Leaders in Museums Network and is currently on the Advisory Board of 2 Temple Place and the editorial board of Apollo.
Carole Souter CBE, Master, St Cross College University of Oxford
Carole took up office as Master of St Cross College in September 2016. She was previously Chief Executive of the National Heritage Memorial Fund and Heritage Lottery Fund, overseeing the distribution of over £400m a year to projects making a lasting difference to people and heritage across the UK. She began her career in the civil service and has over 20 years’ experience of policy formulation and operational management in the Departments of Health, Social Security and the Cabinet Office. She has always been actively engaged in the charitable sector and is currently a Trustee of Historic Royal Palaces; Creativity, Culture and Education; the Kent Wildlife Trust and the National Communities Resource Centre. She has recently been installed as a Lay Canon of Salisbury Cathedral. Carole is a Fellow of the RSA, the Society of Antiquaries, and a member of the Academy of Urbanism. She is an Honorary Fellow of Jesus College, Oxford, and was awarded the CBE in 2011 for services to conservation.
Jonathan Stebbings, Leadership Consultant, Olivier Mythodrama
Jonathan is a leadership consultant and workshop leader focusing on the implementation of development and change initiatives. Jonathan also acts as an executive coach at CEO and Director Levels. He specialises in the areas of learning and development, individual and organisational communication, management and leadership, innovation and creativity. Jonathan has an MA in English Literature and has taught Shakespeare extensively. He also has a broad commercial background, having worked as a commercial solicitor in London and Oxford, and for ICI. He holds a Post Graduate Certificate in Education and is a certified Master Practitioner in Neuro-Linguistic Programming and a Practitioner in Time Line Therapy & Hypnotherapy. He is certified in MBTI, SDI, Relationship Awareness Theory and TMSDI’s Team Management Profile & QO² Opportunity Orientation Profile.
Dr Chris Thorogood, Deputy Director and Head of Science, University of Oxford Botanic Garden and Arboretum
Chris is the Deputy Director and Head of Science for the University of Oxford Botanic Garden and Arboretum (OBGA). Following a postdoctoral research post in plant molecular biology at the University of Bristol, in 2010, Chris moved to the business (FMCG) sector. For the American manufacturer Mars Inc. he led global innovation projects, developing and launching new products under multimillion dollar brands, pan-Europe/US. Chris then worked for the soft drinks manufacturer Britvic where he was the chemical engineering lead on a multimillion supply chain investment programme overseeing the implementation of major household brands including Pepsi, 7-Up, Tango, J20 and Robinson's across the UK. Returning to the academic sector in 2017, Chris now deploys the vision and strategy for OBGA, where he researches evolutionary genetics, plant taxonomy and global biodiversity hotspots. Chris won the international Irene Manton Prize for botany for his PhD in 2009; he is a Fellow of the Linnean Society of London, and a Fellow of Linacre College at Oxford University. He is a popular book author, artist and public speaker.