Encouraging innovation through Art and Design

At just 16, Sarah left education to start a career as a broker in the Citylater achieving the impressive accolade of being the first female Managing Director of a Lloyd’s Broking firm. Despite this success, Sarah felt she was missing something and craved a change of career. After speaking with a career councillor, she decided to come to Birkbeck to study History of Art. 

This change of direction was a brave one, that came with significant challenges: ‘A year into my studies, I stepped down from my MD role in the City. I suddenly went from earning a good salary to having noneThis is one of the reasons why I donate to Birkbeck, because I want to help those who are struggling with the costs of education’. 

However, Sarah quickly thrived in the Arts world. Her roles have included Fundraising Director at Royal Academy of the Arts, Executive Director of the Almeida Theatre, Executive Director of Arts CouncilLondon, Head of Arts and Cultural Strategy for Olympic Delivery Authority, Founder of The Legacy List, the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park charity (now Foundation for Future London), and Executive Producer at the Roundhouse.  

Sarah was awarded an OBE for services to the Arts in 2011. She sees this as a way of recognising the wonderful colleagues that she has worked with: ‘I believe that it is always a team effort and I am one part of a jigsaw’.  

In 2013 Sarah was made a Fellow of Birkbeck College and is a regular supporter of our students. In 2019 she was also awarded an Honorary Doctorate at University of the Arts for services to design. Most recently Sarah was Chief Executive of the Design Council.