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Business & Charity Governance

I am a skilled and experienced Board Chair, Nominations & Remuneration Committee Chair and Non-Executive Director (NED) specialising in governance, strategic risk, change management and performance monitoring.

I am passionate about good governance in all organisations and I particularly value chairing diverse boards of Trustees and NEDs. I have experience of working on the Boards of publicly listed companies (plcs), start up, small and medium sized companies (SMEs), social enterprises and major UK charities.

For 9 years, I sat on the main board of DRS Data Research and Services Group plc and was Chair of the Remuneration and Ethics Committees. During that time, I have also served as a NED on start-up, SMEs and social enterprises working with briteyellow, a leading innovator in high-speed wireless communications services and Skills2Learn, an award-winning company that developed e-learning, virtual reality, and creative multimedia solutions that was sold to a FTSE100 company. I have been a finalist in the Cambridgeshire Businesswoman of the Year, was Chair of the Cambridge branch of the Chartered Management Institute from 1997-2001 and on the National Council of the Institute of Directors from 2006-2012. In March 2016, I was recognised by a lifetime achievement award given by Milton Keynes Business Leaders, and in 2020 received the same accolade from Milton Keynes Women Leaders.  In 2019, I was named #1 LGBTQ+ public sector role model in the OUTstanding List and one of the 50 most influential women born in the North of England in the Northern Power Women Power List.

I have written and published widely on strategic leadership and corporate culture change, featuring amongst the top UK executives in the innovative 50LES50NS portfolio, in Women in Leadership: five roots to success by Tina Kothari (Amazon 2008) and in Diversity: How Diverse Leadership is Better for Business (Mazars LLP 2012).

Over the last 20 years, I have acquired significant experience of senior non-executive leadership and strategy, human resources, change management, and organisational transformation across the public sector. For over a decade, I was an accredited coach working with Crown and civil servants with the Foreign, Commonwealth Development Office; Between 2010 – 2019 I served as founding Chair of the South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership, SEMLEP, from 2011 to 2017 was a Non-Executive Director of Homes England, and between 2017-2023 was Chair of The UK Innovation Corridor 

I have a proven track record in developing and delivering large-scale change programmes in both the public and private sectors. I have a natural ability to build teams and successfully stimulate and generate change. Having held three different Chief Executive roles, I am well placed to fulfil non-executive roles that require an understanding of the pressures faced by senior executives. I undertake a significant amount of voluntary, charitable and philanthropic work, as indicated in my biography and CV which can be downloaded from this website.

In 1991, I founded a social enterprise charity, the Network for Women Managers, re-launched in 2007 as the Women’s Leadership Network. In 1998, I founded the Helena Kennedy Foundation to overcome social injustice by providing bursaries, mentoring and support to disadvantaged students. I am a former Chair of the National Council of Faiths and Beliefs, The Anne Frank Trust UK, Milton Keynes Arts for Health and the multi academy trust, E-ACT.

Between 2008 -2010, I was Chair of MK2018, the consortium that successfully led the Milton Keynes campaign to be chosen as a host city as part of the England 2018 bid for the FIFA World Cup. I also chaired the Milton Keynes Major Events Board which oversaw the delivery of the MK2015 Rugby World Cup in Milton Keynes and the  city’s bid to be European Capital of Culture. I am former Chair of ENTRUST the regulator of the Landfill Communities Fund, the UK Innovation Corridor and Arts Council England SE Council.  Between 2015-2021, I served as the first woman Chair of the Scouts

I was also the first woman to become Chair of the City & Guilds of London Institute, am the inaugural Chair of the Lifelong Education Institute and Chair of Governors of The Manchester College.  I am a Trustee of the Stables Theatre, Chair of the Milton Keynes International Festival IF.  

I am Pro Chancellor of the University of Surrey, a Fellow Commoner at Lucy Cavendish College, University of Cambridge, and an honorary Professor in Leadership and Management at the University of West London; I received the Mary Lou Carrington Award from the Worshipful Company of Educators and hold honorary doctorates from the Open University, Anglia Ruskin, Bedfordshire, Northamptonshire, Sheffield Hallam and Manchester Metropolitan universities. 

Since 2011, I have held a commission from the Sovereign to serve as a Deputy Lieutenant of Buckinghamshire, where I was High Sheriff 2023-4.

What I do


"The Company of Educators awarded the 2012 Mary Lou Carrington Award to Ann in recognition of the way she has strikingly combined her multi-faceted skills in business, education and entrepreneurship."
Susan Fey OBE Chairman of Trustees, Mary Lou Carrington Award


Women and early years learning – 1950’s style
Women have played a huge role in my education throughout my life, starting with my mother and…

08 March 2024

Christmas Newsletter 2023
As with gladness, we grow older - with gratitude and grace Christmas update from Ann and Maggie…

24 December 2023

‘honouring history: encouraging evolution’ reflections…
Is there a case to be made for th ancient ‘ceremonial’ office of High Sheriff, in the gift of…

28 August 2023

Maggie Cook's tribute to Dame Ann
On 2 June 2022, a few special friends gathered in our garden, in the early summer sunshine, and…

31 December 2022

Christmas Greetings 2022
Happy Christmas - and tales of 2022 - damehood, death, and delight!

24 December 2022

Mystical Experience or Medical Emergency? Cold Water Sea…
Part 5 ‘Hard to define what constitutes ‘mystical’ – perception refreshed giving a greater…

05 May 2021

Mystical Experience or Medical Emergency? Cold Water Sea…
Part 4 Transient Global Amnesia

05 May 2021

Mystical Experience or Medical Emergency? Cold Water Sea…
Part 3 Oblivious to the consequences that were to befall me, I marvelled in the moment, in the…

05 May 2021