Julia Middleton

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Julia Middleton (born 1958, London) is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Common Purpose , a British charity that runs leadership development programmes across the UK.[1]

She is a passionate campaigner for the progression of diverse leaders in civil society.[2]

""Julia has founded or helped in the founding of" Demos. Impetus Trust. The Media Standards Trust, The Good Governance Network, and Alfanar. She is also on the Advisory Group of the Oxford Business School. [3]


Julia was educated at a French lycee before studying an Economics degree at London School of Economics.[4]


In 1980 Julia Middleton began her career at the Industrial Society where she created Head Start, a program providing high school dropouts with training and advice from prospective employers.[5]

In the autumn of 1988, Julia formed Common Purpose UK.[6]

Common Purpose UK runs a range of leadership development courses that offer participants the inspiration, knowledge and connections to help them become more active and engaged in society.[7]

Its courses run in 11 countries worldwide and aim at improving the way organisations work by increasing the number of informed individuals who are actively involved in shaping the future of the area in which they work.[8][9]

Since 1989, more than 25,000 leaders have completed one or more Common Purpose courses.[10]

Non-executive Roles

Alongside her role as CEO of Common Purpose, Julia occupies a number of non-executive roles, including Deputy Chair of the Media Standards Trust Board, a registered charity that runs Journalisted, a free online journalist portfolio designed to improve public accountability in journalism.[11]

Julia is also the Chair of the Board of Trustees for Alfanar, a venture philanthropy fund set up to assist organisations in the Arab region.[12]

She helped in the founding of DEMOS, an independent think tank, and Impetus Trust, developing venture philanthropy in the UK.[13]


In 1982 Julia authored a book called Quality Circles published by the Industrial Society in London.[14]

She also wrote the foreword to the book How to be an even better chair: Sensible Advice from the Public & Charity Sectors written by Sophie Petit-Zeman.[15]

In February 2007, Julia’s book ‘Beyond Authority: Leadership in a Changing World’ was published by Palgrave Macmillan and she recorded a meet the author video.[16]

In 2010, it was translated into Hungarian and published by HVG Konyvek.[17]

Public Speaking

In June 2008, Julia spoke at the Impact International Conference on ‘Leadership for Sustainable Enterprise’.[18]

Julia spoke at a Faith Regen Foundation conference about Women’s Role in peaceful coexistence on 17 June 2008.[19]

On 22 September 2008, Julia was invited to speak on a panel about company values at the AW Page Society annual conference in Cape Cod.[20]

In The Media

On 5 June 1997 Julia appeared on BBC Question Time hosted by David Dimbleby.[21]

In March 2008, Julia was interviewed by Die Zeit German news about Common Purpose UK and leadership in Germany.[22]

Julia Middleton is often called upon to contribute to or comment on leadership news in publications. These include:

  • Moving outside your comfort zone, The Guardian, 30 March 2007[23]
  • Leading leaders to tomorrow's world is a job for learning and development professionals, Personnel Today, 22 January 2008[24]
  • The wealth of experience, The Guardian, 16 April 2008[25]
  • Unlock leadership potential: how to, Personnel Today, 10 June 2008[26]

In January 2010, Julia and Common Purpose UK were featured in a Daily Telegraph Business Club video that explored how the organisation has expanded internationally without becoming fragmented or diluted.[27]

In March 2010, Julia interviewed 12 leaders, including Dame Suzi Leather, about the lessons learned about leadership in 2009.[28]

The resulting video featured in both ThirdSector and The Guardian.[29][30]


In an article in the NewStatesman, Robert Peston, BBC Business Editor, said of Julia:

“One of Middleton's great skills is to persuade police constables, youth group organisers, permanent secretaries, FTSE chief executives and head teachers that they can learn from each other and could even cure some of society's ills.”[31]

Charles Handy, in The New Alchemists also said:

"How Julia came to be the force she is, the values she holds and the way she applies them, contains messages for many who dream of making the difference she has made."[32]


  1. http://www.thisisderbyshire.co.uk/news/Bursaries-help-bosses/article-497835-detail/article.html
  2. http://www.peoplealchemy.co.uk/authors/Julia%20Middleton.html
  3. Julia Middleton About, organizational web page, accessed May 16, 2012.
  4. http://www2.lse.ac.uk/home.aspx
  5. http://www.contextmag.com/setFrameRedirect.asp?src=/archives/200004/BookReview1.asp
  6. http://www.theorwellprize.co.uk/the-award/who.aspx?org=mst
  7. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/businessclub/7036877/Common-Purpose-Business-Club-Video.html
  8. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/businessclub/7036877/Common-Purpose-Business-Club-Video.html
  9. http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/rssarticleshow/msid-3017206,prtpage-1.cms
  10. http://www.peoplealchemy.co.uk/authors/Julia%20Middleton.html
  11. http://www.mediastandardstrust.org/aboutus/people.aspx
  12. http://www.alfanar.org.uk/index.html
  13. http://www.peoplealchemy.co.uk/authors/Julia%20Middleton.html
  14. http://openlibrary.org/books/OL22592555M/Quality_circles
  15. http://www.businesstitles.com/cat/management/howt7299
  16. http://www.palgrave.com/media/Middleton.asp
  17. http://www.hvgkonyvek.hu/index.php/Gazdasag-es-menedzsment/Hataskoron-tul/book_flypage.tpl.html
  18. http://www.impactinternational.com/conference/Page-2.html
  19. http://www.faithregenuk.org/WConfReport.pdf
  20. http://www.awpagesociety.com/images/uploads/2008AR.pdf
  21. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1124290/fullcredits#cast
  22. http://www.zeit.de/online/2008/13/verantwortungsvolle-unternehmer-middleton-interview
  23. http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2007/mar/30/smes.technology5
  24. http://www.personneltoday.com/articles/2008/01/22/43929/leading-leaders-to-tomorrows-world-is-a-job-for-learning-and-development-professionals.html
  25. http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2008/apr/16/11
  26. http://www.personneltoday.com/articles/2008/06/10/46250/unlock-leadership-potential-how-to.html
  27. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/businessclub/7036877/Common-Purpose-Business-Club-Video.html
  28. http://www.youtube.com/user/CommonPurposeIntl#p/a/u/1/BU6dEa8gkQ8
  29. http://www.thirdsector.co.uk/news/Article/988735/media-attacks-tested-me-says-dame-suzi-leather/
  30. http://www.guardianpublic.co.uk/leaders-public-voluntary-sector
  31. http://www.newstatesman.com/200501170003
  32. http://www.management-issues.com/2007/6/11/opinion/beyond-the-tick-box-culture.asp?section=opinion&id=4254&specifier=&is_authenticated=0&reference=&mode=author

External links