Chief Executive, Common Purpose International

Alison Coburn

Alison has spent most of her career working with leaders across the world, often in challenging environments. She is one of the founders of Common Purpose, an international leadership development organization that now has 100,000 alumni worldwide.

As Chief Executive of Common Purpose International she spearheaded the development of Common Purpose in France, Germany, Ghana, Hungary, India, the Netherlands, South Africa and Turkey. She led Common Purpose's work across the Middle East and North Africa for a number of years. This included the leadership of an EU supported capacity-building programme in Libya from 2011 to 2013 – during and after the conflict in the country.

In 2020 she founded Sky Blue, a programme for leaders working on our environmental challenges. She is passionate about providing support and leadership development for the people who are tackling our climate and biodiversity crisis.

In the early stages of her career, Alison worked for the Arts Council of Great Britain, Community Service Volunteers and the BBC. She has a degree in American Studies from the University of Kent – she studied both in the UK and the US.

She is an Ambassador for the Tutu Foundation UK (which aims to prevent and resolve conflict and to help people build peaceful communities) and is a member of the International Advisory Council of the Human Health Education and Research Foundation.