The Leading Edge - Ideas shaping a better world

Actions and Detail Panel


Event Information



Online event

Event description
The Leading Edge: Ideas shaping a better world

About this event

Date: Mondays -27 September, 18 October, 15 November, 6 December

Time: 16.00-17.00 BST

Location: Online event via Zoom


A series of free, online events featuring some of the world’s most prestigious and award-winning thinkers leading social and environmental change to create a better world.

  • 27 September: Rebuild: How to thrive in the Kindness Economy with Mary Portas, one of the UK’s most high profile businesswomen.
  • 18 October: The Authority Gap: Taking women from the margins to the centre with Mary Ann Sieghart, Journalist and broadcaster.
  • 15 November: The Promises of Giants: How YOU can fill the leadership void with John Amaechi OBE, Sunday and NY times bestseller & Psychologist.
  • 6 December: Crisis reimagined: The role of the arts in stimulating recovery with Dr Darren Henley OBE, CEO of Arts Council England.

Networking: You also have an opportunity to meet other leaders attending these events - please stay with us from 17.00 – 18.00 for our Leading Edge conversations, where you can discuss your reaction to each of the talks in facilitated Zoom breakout rooms.


Monday 27 September- 16.00-17.00

Mary Portas - Rebuild: How to thrive in the Kindness Economy

Join Mary Portas, one of the UK’s most high profile businesswomen, as she shares her thoughts on the importance of building a ‘Kindness Economy’, a new value system relevant to our times that reflects the fundamental role that business plays in the fabric of our lives.

Mary Portas is one of the UK's most high-profile businesswomen. After making her name transforming Harvey Nichols into London's sexiest fashion destination, Mary launched her own retail consultancy, Portas, which works with clients ranging from Louis Vuitton to Sainsbury's. She has been a regular on our TV screens, advised the government on the future of high streets and developed a fashion label. Her proudest achievement to date is the creation of twenty-six Mary's Living & Giving shops for Save the Children. She is the author of Shop Girl and Work Like a Woman. Her most recent public talk was for TedxLondon, exploring “The Kindness Economy”, a view on the future of how we shop and live in the 21st century. Her most recent book, Rebuild; How to thrive in the kindness economy, published by Penguin Random House was released on 1st July 2021.

Monday 18 October - 16.00-17.00

Mary Ann Sieghart - The Authority Gap: Taking women from the margins to the centre

Join journalist and broadcaster Mary Ann Sieghart as she shares ideas from her recent book ‘The Authority Gap’; a body of work containing research and case studies, which show that despite the progress society has made, there are still many ways in which women are prevented from achieving equality.

Mary Ann Sieghart is a highly regarded current affairs commentator and presenter, whose new book ‘The Authority Gap’ looks at how we still don’t take women as seriously as men, and what we can do about it. Mary Ann began her career as a Eurobond correspondent and Lex Columnist at the Financial Times, before moving to become Business Editor of Today newspaper. She was a founding partner of The Browser website, a current affairs content aggregation website, joined Newshour, the BBC World Service’s flagship news and current affairs programme, as a presenter and also wrote a weekly column in The Independent about politics, economics and social affairs. She chaired the Social Market Foundation think tank for ten years, and currently sits on the boards of the Scott Trust (owner of The Guardian and The Observer), the Merchants Trust and Pantheon International. She has also been a non-executive director of the Ofcom Content Board, Henderson Smaller Companies Investment Trust, DLN Digital, and the Council of Tate Modern.

Monday 15 November - 16.00-17.00

John Amaechi OBE - The Promises of Giants: How YOU can fill the leadership void

Join John Amaechi OBE as he shares insights from his new leadership book ‘The Promises of Giants’ on what it takes to develop as a leader in an increasingly complex and challenging world. John takes us through his own experiences as a ‘giant’ and brings this to play in a thought provoking and stimulating call for leaders to step up to the responsibility of their roles.

John is a respected organisational psychologist, an OBE, Chartered Scientist, elected Fellow of the Royal Society for Public Health, bestselling New York Times author, Research Fellow at the University of East London, and Founder of APS. John's deep psychological insight combined with real life experience provides a touchstone for people and companies who want to thrive, achieve and align their beliefs, values and ethics. John is a giant, literally, he’s huge! He’s also a Dad, Brother & Uncle...from Stockport (a product of the statement ‘The most unlikely of people in the most improbable of circumstances, can become extraordinary’). People who think facts and evidence should bow to ‘opinion’ drive him crazy, John is a great storyteller, will confront you with uncomfortable truths, make you laugh and move you to tears (sometimes in the same minute) and ultimately inspire you to grow and develop in ways you couldn’t possible imagine, so that you can be a Giant too.

Monday 6 December, 16.00-17.00

Dr Darren Henley OBE - Crisis reimagined: the role of the arts in stimulating recovery

Join Dr Darren Henley OBE, CEO of Arts Council England as he shares his thoughts on the importance of culture, creativity and the arts in times of uncertainty. Darren argues that we need a creative response to change, which engages the imagination and allows us harness the collective energy of humans.

Dr Darren Henley OBE is chief executive of Arts Council England. His boardroom experience spans the arts, media, education, charity and government. He led Classic FM for fifteen years before joining the Arts Council in 2015. The author of two independent government reviews into music and cultural education, he received the British Academy President’s Medal for his contributions to music education, music research and the arts. A certified coach, Darren has a doctorate exploring the role of the outsider as an agent for change, master’s degrees in management and in history of art, postgraduate certificates in coaching and behavioural change and in applied positive psychology, and a degree in politics. His latest book ‘The Arts Dividend Revisited: Why Investment in Culture Pays’ highlights how public investment in artists, arts organisations, museums and libraries helps to create happier lives in villages, towns and cities across England.


Please register using the ‘register’ link on this page.

To attend the full series, please select ‘All sessions’ when registering, otherwise individually select your chosen sessions when registering to attend particular events within this series.

If you wish to register without using Eventbrite, or if you have any questions regarding the event please contact:


  • To aid organisation of this event, attendee information may be shared with relevant staff in the University e.g. a list of attendees could be provided to the University host, guest speaker.
  • We will store your information securely, so that we can communicate to you about the event (e.g. cancellation of event, changes to the itinerary, a satisfaction survey).
  • We delete our access to personal information on Eventbrite after 6 months.
  • More information on the University’s privacy policies can be found here.
  • For more information on Eventbrite’s own privacy policy, please visit this page.


Online event

Organiser University of Exeter Business School

Organiser of The Leading Edge - Ideas shaping a better world

We’ve taken just over a decade to establish the University of Exeter Business School as one of the UK’s leading institutions. We’ve achieved this by striving to be the best we can be, bringing together inspirational and internationally-respected business teachers from around the world in an environment that combines historical and intellectual heritage with modern facilities.

Save This Event

Event Saved