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Dean's Series: Travelling through turbulence - What is the future for business?

Dr Margaret Heffernan talks to CEO Sarah Gillard about new ideas and new forms of leadership needed to navigate the volatility of the 21st century.

  • 28 Jun 2022, 9.00am to 28 Jun 2022, 10.00am BST (GMT +01:00)
  • This is an online event.
  • This event is free

Confronting crises on all fronts, running a business – whether it’s global or local, entrepreneurial or institutional – has never looked so hard. The range of stakeholders has never been wider and expectations never so great. A company must now produce something that people want at a price they can afford, which also allows the business and its employees to flourish within a society that is sustainable: a very tall order. Can it be done or are we facing a world of uncomfortable trade-offs? Who is leading in this space and what examples can we learn from?

Sarah Gillard recently left a senior strategy position at the famed John Lewis Partnership where these questions confronted the employee-owned business every day. She is now CEO of Blueprint for a Better Business which works closely with large corporations to help them forge a new path that will sustain them through the volatility and crises that characterise our age. What does the future of business look like to her? Where are the new ideas and new forms of leadership fit for the 21st century?

Sarah Gillard

Sarah is a passionate advocate for making business “more human” – places where people flourish, communities prosper, and long-term sustainability is the driving force. She has over 25 years of experience leading in fast-paced commercial environments at some of the UK’s largest retail companies.

Sarah joined Blueprint in May 2022, from her role as Director of Purpose and Special Projects at John Lewis Partnership, responsible for rearticulating and embedding the purpose of the John Lewis Partnership so that it continues to be a source of inspiration, innovation, and strategic differentiation.

Sarah joined the John Lewis Partnership in 2010. She held senior positions across several different areas: trading, commercial strategy, and people strategy. Sarah became a Trustee of the John Lewis Foundation in 2017.

Prior to John Lewis, Sarah worked in commercial roles with other major high street retailers.

Sarah has a degree in Politics, Philosophy and Economics from the University of Oxford and is a fellow of RSA.


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