Catalyst for Change - Heather Rabbatts, CBE

nitroBEAT and the Barbican are excited to announce our headline speaker for The ā€˜Dā€™ Word.

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Described as one of Britain's most influential women, Heather Rabbatts is a Jamaican-born British lawyer, businesswoman, and broadcaster, who rose to prominence as Chief Executive of the London Borough of Lambeth, the youngest council chief in the U.K.

Starting out as a barrister, Heather became a government advisor and then worked in local government. First as Deputy Chief Executive of Hammersmith and Fulham before becoming CEO of the London Borough of Lambeth, regarded as the worst job in local government. She introduced a more dynamic culture and was widely credited for establishing a fundamental, and positive, change in the organisation.

Heather joined Channel 4 as Head of Education, commissioning programmes and projects and introducing a range of talent development initiatives. She also served as a Governor of the BBC. Her work in private equity drew her to football and the restructuring of Millwall where she was Executive Chairwoman.

Currently Managing Director of international film and TV production company Smuggler Entertainment, Heather also serves on the boards the Arts Alliance, the Royal Opera House, and in 2012 became the first female board member of the Football Association. She has served on the board of Crossrail, and in supervisory roles at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the LSE, and the British Council. She was also a non-Executive Director of the Bank of England.

Heather Baratts will speak on leading change in the most demanding of environments, attracting and retaining talent and increasing workplace diversity. She draws on her extensive experiences to show that through hard work and determination you can achieve your ambitions. Her outstanding leadership skills have been widely reported in the national press, and are testimony to her clear sense of vision and ability to effect real change within large organisations.

The ‘D’ Word is a day-long event taking place on Mon 11 May at Unicorn Theatre, which aims to reignite conversations around cultural diversity in theatre and live art. The ‘D’ Word aims to approach the theme of diversity in the arts in a more radical and inclusive manner by inviting a diverse range of leaders and arts practitioners as speakers and audience members to explore new possibilities for cultural diversity within London's theatre and live art scene.

Heather will join other outstanding luminaries and emerging artistic leaders of the theatre and arts world.

You can find out more about The ‘D’ Word and book here.