Tessa Jowell is one of the UK’s foremost female leaders. In a career defined by brave decision making and guiding principles she is recognised for making a lasting contribution to the nation’s public life.
Tessa entered parliament after an early career in psychiatric work, family therapy and public sector management and innovation, culminating in a directorship at the mental health charity MIND. Her first government post as Public Health Minister saw the inauguration of the SureStart Children’s Centres, and Ministerial positions for Women, Employment, Welfare to Work and Equal Opportunities followed. Later, as Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport she oversaw the renegotiation of the BBC Charter in the new digital age, a review of media regulation, the foundation of OFCOM, and secured a decade of funding for the arts.
As Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport Tessa Jowell was a key supporter of the London Olympic bid from the start and played an instrumental role in bringing the Games to Britain. A passionate believer in the power of sport as a force for social good around the world, she is credited with persuading the government to provide crucial backing for the bid and worked tirelessly to keep preparations on track for an outstanding display in 2012.
Tessa stepped down as an MP in May 2015, ending over twenty years spent as a representative of her constituency, nine of which as a Cabinet Minister. Tessa will be taking up a senior teaching fellowship at the Harvard School of Public Health in the autumn of 2016, sits on the board of the Economist and acts as a leadership mentor to senior women in organisations including Santander, PwC and the BBC. In 2015 she was appointed to the House of Lords, in what looks like being an interesting new chapter in the career of one of our best known politicians.
Tessa’s political life has been characterised by a strong set of guiding principles seeded in her early years as a child care and psychiatric officer. Her passion for education, public heath, employment and equality is driven by the belief that the mental and physical health of society is paramount, and that all should have the same opportunity to succeed. For Tessa the Olympics were the grand extension of this – the biggest peace time logistical operation in our history, yet offering huge potential in terms of social engagement, health, youth education and inspiration.
The eventual success of the project was in large part due to team solidarity. As Tessa herself says "Building a team like that involves strength; we had this great sense of common purpose and loyalty to each other, and if you look back over the 10 years, you won't find a single instance of one team member briefing against another."
Alongside the more serious keynote subjects Tessa can also shed an ironic light on what she likes to call the ritual humiliation of politics. A sense of humour, thick skin and morale building skills are essential, as well as a cool head when finding yourself in a lift with David Beckham...
Tessa is comfortable on subjects from health to education, transport to technology and city planning to future proofing, and she speaks with authority on:
• Risk – dare to commit, the loneliness of personal responsibility
• The power of persuasion – taking others with you
• Team work – bringing together opposing factions behind one aim
• Managing change
• Project management and delivery
• Crisis management
• Strategic communication
• Work/life balance
• Women in leadership
Available for after dinners, keynotes and conference linking, Tessa is a warm and funny personality with a wealth of experience to share. To booker Tessa Jowell as a Speaker, please call a Prime Performers Booking Agent on 0207 251 8222.
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