Home | News & Insights | 2018 | Membership organisation, Cambridge Ahead, appoints Harriet Fear as new Chair

Membership organisation, Cambridge Ahead, appoints Harriet Fear as new Chair


Cambridge Ahead, the business and academic member group dedicated to the sustainable growth of Cambridge and its region, today announced the appointment of Harriet Fear as its new Chair, effective January 1st. Harriet takes over from Ian Mather, who has chaired the organisation since its creation in 2013.

A career diplomat for over 20 years with the British Foreign Office, Harriet served in 17 countries in various roles including Deputy Ambassador, Head of Press and Public Affairs and Head of Commercial Services. Since 2003, Harriet has worked at the heart of the Cambridge business ecosystem – as Chief Executive of One Nucleus (the international membership organisation for life science and healthcare) and more recently as Director of Business & Skills (interim) for the Mayor of Cambridgeshire & Peterborough. She is a long-standing member of Cambridge Ahead and a strong advocate and champion for ‘the Case for Cambridge’ and Cambridge Ahead’s role within the CPIER. 

Harriet commented of her appointment: “I am honoured to have become the new Chair of Cambridge Ahead. I look forward enormously to working for, and with the members of Cambridge Ahead and the region. There are huge opportunities at what feels like a pivotal time across the area – with the launch of the Cambridge and Peterborough Independent Economic Review, and growth being so strong. However, I am also keenly aware of the challenges. I know that the Cambridge Ahead membership will bring its exceptional talents to bear on influencing the future direction of the region and the ambition we collectively have of achieving the highest possible quality of life for all.”

In addition to Harriet’s appointment as Chair, Cambridge Ahead has also appointed a new Programme Director to the core team.

Lisa McLean joins Cambridge Ahead from Serco Anglian Support Partnership and brings 14 years’ experience leading challenging, diverse projects and transformation programmes across public, private and voluntary sectors. A Chartered Fellow in change management, Lisa’s energy and enthusiasm for leading change to improve thinking and performance is a superb fit with Cambridge Ahead as it steps into its next phase of development. 

Lisa commented of her appointment: “I am excited about joining Cambridge Ahead and working to support the mobilisation of some very innovative, forward-thinking and important initiatives, which will have huge benefits for the community. I have been incredibly impressed by the work undertaken so far and look forward to working with the team to grow these into established, healthy programmes.”

Jane Paterson-Todd, Chief Executive, Cambridge Ahead added: “I am delighted to welcome Harriet and Lisa to the team. Having focused on research, analysis and reporting, Cambridge Ahead is now moving into a new phase of influence. As an organisation, we were pivotal in the supply of research to inform the Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Independent Economic Review and will fully endorse the resulting recommendations.  To that end we are creating a new Policy Group, which will be chaired by Alex Plant, Director at Anglian Water.   In addition, we have also introduced a new Advisory Group within our suite of activities, aimed specifically at those under 35. The objective of the Advisory Group is to ensure we capture this group’s thinking about their future and their ideas for the future of Cambridge. We will be drawing people from our membership to join this young group.  Rob Carter, Director, RG Carter has agreed to spearhead this group.” 

Alex Plant, Regulation Director, Anglian Water commented: “The aim of the new Policy Group is to bring together those with experience of working with central and local government to hone our arguments in favour of sustainable growth and maintaining and enhancing quality of life in our area. I very much look forward to working with Policy Group colleagues, and the wider membership, to build on our success to date in influencing and supporting the key policy developments affecting our area.” 

Rob Carter, Director, RG Carter added: “I am extremely proud to be representing this group of incredibly talented and enthusiastic individual rising stars from some of Cambridge’s most influential organisations.  If we are to be successful in developing and improving both our commercial and community activities, it’s important that this group have a platform to voice their aspirations and ideas.  I passionately believe these young professionals can help influence and steer us to delivering a realistic and successful future for this wonderful, vibrant city.”

Additional Chair appointments have also been confirmed across the Housing, Transport and Skills Groups:

  • Housing: Sue Chadwick, Senior Associate, Planning and Environmental Team, Birketts.
  • Transport: David Braben, CEO & Founder Frontier Developments.
  • Skills: Anna McDonald, Head of Large Corporate Banking, East, Barclays. (Anna will Chair the Skills Group as of April 2019, with Anne Bailey, Co-Founder, Form the Future covering the position until then).

For more information about Cambridge Ahead and the project work currently being undertaken please visit: www.cambridgeahead.co.uk


07548 832 833


Sarah Brereton, Director, Limewash
07796 583 223

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