Julia Middleton

Julia Middleton
CEO, Common Purpose Charitable Trust

Headquarters: London, United Kingdom
Website: www.commonpurpose.org
Primary Business: Leadership development
Revenues: £6 million
Employees: 70

Diversity Never Done at Common Purpose

In every society, there is an invisible, vital “space.” It lies between the individual and the state, between the immediate responsibilities facing each individual and the institutional responsibilities of the government. It is a place where people come together and act for the greater good. And it is open to everyone, from every sector of society.

In an unhealthy society, this space is empty. People leave the decisions to governments. They are active in their private lives, but passive towards the world around them.

In a healthy society, this space is full. It teems with individuals, businesses, community organizations, and political groups. It is alive with energy and entrepreneurial activity. People hold institutions and the powerful to account. They oppose and propose. And, free from the short-term pressures, they can think and act for the longer term and in the wider interest of society.

At Common Purpose, we have a passionate belief in the importance of this space. In our view, this is at the core of society—active not passive. Involving the best leadership from all parts of the community.

Our aim is to fill this space with as many, and as diverse, people as possible—people who may not see themselves as leaders in a traditional sense. We want to give them the knowledge, inspiration, and connections they need to be effective. To encourage all kinds of people into it, and to see all kinds of initiatives come out of it.

We believe that they will then be able to counterbalance the forces of fragmentation in society, getting communities to work better together. They will be better at using and combining scarce resources. And though they may only seldom produce huge shifts, they will deliver the accumulation of many small ones from which most change emerges.

We draw on the widest possible variety of sectors, areas, beliefs, and social groups. However diverse a Common Purpose group is, it can’t be diverse enough. It’s got to have every perspective—an incredible richness and difference of understanding and approach—in every possible way. The word diversity can sometimes be monotonous, but ours is a multiple slice of every possible type of diversity you can find in a community.

Education: MS, London School of Economics
First Job: Course Director, Industrial Society
What I’m Reading: The Economist
My Philosophy: Eyes on the hills, feet on the ground.
Best Advice: In God we trust. Everything else in writing.
Interests: Gardening