women leaders event 1

Southern Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) have a number of Board job opportunities available and are looking for inspirational and ambitious people. Interested? Read on to hear more.

LEPs set a direction of travel for the economy and work with others to achieve results. They feed into the policy and decision-makers in government in a non-political way by linking local authorities and businesses, helping to explain the realities of what’s required to generate growth and prosperity.


The Southern LEPs are working hard together to encourage greater diversity on their Boards to ensure that they look at issues from all angles and reflect the businesses and communities they represent, both today and in the future.

Ann Limb

In 2019, Ann Limb retired as founding Chair of South East Midlands LEP (SEMLEP) and is now the independent business Chair of the London Stansted Cambridge Consortium – the organisation behind the UK’s Innovation Corridor. We sat down with Ann to find out more about her experiences on a LEP Board, and how improving diversity across Southern LEPs can help to reflect the make-up of local communities and enrich decision-making.

What attracted you to getting involved with SEMLEP?
“The initial attraction was the partnership between businesses and local authority leaders. We didn’t have organisations like LEPs before and it meant that local communities were able to have more of a say in the growth and investment needs of their area. It’s about genuine partnership that allows businesses to get engaged in local economy activities which had never been done before.

Why is diversity important on a Board?
“We have to reflect the society outside of the LEP boardroom, which is now very diverse and so it should be. You can only make a good decision if you’ve got people who have different points of view around the table, this leads to growth and development.”

What is your vision for the future of Boards?
“Now that LEPs have been around for a decade, my advice would be for LEPs to come together with the LEP Network, (the organisation that promotes best practice across LEPs) to forge a strong vision and strategy for the next 10 years. They need to recognise that this needs

to be done in a post-Brexit Britain and should work together to convince government that this is an essential economic partnership that’s worth maintaining and investing in.”

What is your secret to success?
“The best advice I can give to anybody is be yourself, know your strengths and weaknesses and learn how to put yourself in the other person’s shoes. Don’t be afraid to challenge people, but do this constructively and from a place of respect. Above all else, be authentic.”

What advice would you offer to someone that wants to get involved?
“To anybody thinking of joining a LEP Board, think about the chance you’ll have to make decisions that affect your local community and the personal learning that you can get from that. Don’t hesitate to do it if you really want to have a good experience of seeing how communities and places can be built and shaped.”


Coast to Capital is seeking an outstanding Chair to help lead the region and meet the ambitious vision set out in their economic strategy. The Board is well established and representative of a wide range of senior stakeholders from the public and private sectors. It contains a diverse group of highly talented people who have excelled in their own professional areas. The role of the Chair is key in leading the Board and delivering objectives.

Coast to Capital is keen to hear from outstanding individuals who are capable of representing businesses across the area and is passionate about driving forward economic growth.

The recruitment campaign has opened and a new Chair will be appointed by July 2020. The position will be remunerated, and will involve a commitment of one day a week on average.

Rosaleen Liard
Coast to Capital Board Member

Rosaleen shares her tips on applying for the Chair role.

“Initially, I was uncertain as to whether or not I would be qualified and experienced enough to apply as a Board member. I think that’s quite typical of females in business. We go online and look at the existing board members and as you would expect for a board you see a wealth of experience and some very impressive CVs and you think I couldn’t possibly compete. And then you walk away and you realise that it’s not a competition, and you can actually add value.

“The LEP is doing so much to celebrate women leaders. Last year’s women leaders’ event brought together leaders from across the LEP Network to kick-

start and champion the voice for the wider diversity agenda. The landscape has changed, there is now more acceptance that women do have qualities that they can bring at the very highest level. We can be far more effective in our decision-making, far more creative and far more productive.

“At Coast to Capital, the Chair is a key role. You want somebody who inspires our values and is as ambitious for the region as they are for themselves. The Chair needs a passion that runs through them. We need someone who is trusted, and understands our ambition for the region in the future. My advice if you’re thinking of applying, is to believe in yourself and believe in that community that you want to improve. Reach out, take that step and apply.”

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