Founder and Innovation Officer

Julia Middleton

Julia is passionate about helping people to develop as leaders, and campaigns to encourage leaders from all backgrounds to make an active and tangible contribution to their communities and to wider society.

In the autumn of 1989, Julia founded Common Purpose in Newcastle, which has grown to be one of the biggest leadership development organizations in the world. Julia stepped down from the position of Chief Executive in 2018, after nearly 30 years in the role. She now drives new Common Purpose initiatives as Innovation Officer, reporting to the Group Chief Executive, Adirupa Sengupta. 

Julia has also helped in the founding of the Impetus Trust (developing venture philanthropy in the UK) and the Media Standards Trust (fostering high standards in the news media). She is on the board and chairs the investment committee of Alfanar (developing venture philanthropy in the Arab world). She is also on the International Advisory Council for Fundação Dom Cabral (a non-profit business institution in Brasil) and is a Goodwill Ambassador of the Aurora Forum (an arena for global citizens who aspire to tackle the world's pressing challenges).

Julia was born in London and educated at French Lycées around the world. She worked for the Industrial Society after receiving an economics degree from the London School of Economics. She is married and has five children.

Julia is the author of the bestselling book Beyond Authority: Leadership in a Changing World. Her latest book Cultural Intelligence - CQ: the Competitive Edge for Leaders Crossing Borders was published in 2014. Julia defines Cultural Intelligence (CQ) as "the ability to cross divides and thrive in multiple cultures".