As Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport Tessa Jowell was a key supporter of the London Olympic bid from the start and played an instrumental role in bringing the Games to Britain.  A passionate believer in the power of sport as a force for social good, she is credited with initiating the bid, mobilizing the support of the entire government and worked tirelessly to keep preparations on track for an outstanding display in 2012.

Tessa entered parliament after an early career in psychiatric work, social policy and public sector management and innovation, culminating in a directorship at the mental health charity MIND. In her first government post as Public Health Minister Tessa was responsible for the inauguration of the SureStart Children’s Centres, and Ministerial positions for Women, Employment, Welfare to Work and Equal Opportunities followed. Later, as Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport she oversaw the renegotiation of the BBC Charter in the new digital age, a review of media regulation, the foundation of OFCOM, and secured a decade of funding for the arts.

Tessa’s political life has been characterised by a strong set of guiding principles seeded in her early years as a family therapist and psychiatric officer. Her passion for education, public heath, employment and equality is driven by the belief that the mental and physical health of society is paramount. For Tessa the Olympics were the grand extension of this – the biggest peace time logistical operation in our history, yet offering huge potential in terms of social engagement, health, youth education and inspiration.

The eventual success of the project was in large part due to team solidarity. Tessa was instrumental in building a cross party support for the Games, a structure that was essential for smooth delivery given the number of local and national interests at stake. In her own words “Building a team like that involves strength; we had this great sense of common purpose and loyalty to each other, and if you look back over the 10 years, you won’t find a single instance of one team member briefing against another.”

Tessa stepped down as an MP in May 2015, ending over twenty years in parliament, nine of which as a Cabinet Minister. She will be taking up a senior teaching fellowship at the Harvard School of Public Health, sits on the board of the Economist, the charity Magic Bus, and acts as a leadership mentor to senior women in organisations including Santander, PwC and the BBC. In 2015 she was appointed to the House of Lords as Baroness Jowell of Brixton.

Alongside the more serious keynote subjects Tessa can also shed an ironic light on what she likes to call the ritual humiliation of politics. A sense of humour, thick skin and morale building skills are essential, as well as a cool head when finding yourself in a lift with David Beckham.


Microphone IconStrategic Communication

Microphone IconRisk – dare to commit

Microphone IconTeam work – delivering one aim

Microphone IconProject management & delivery

Microphone IconWomen in leadership


Microphone IconPsychiatry, family and childcare

Microphone IconPublic Health

Microphone IconWomen and leadership

Microphone IconMedia and regulation

Microphone IconHousing policy

Microphone IconCity leadership

Microphone IconSport for social change


Watch Tessa in action

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