Susanna Kempe (She/Her)

CEO, Laidlaw Foundation

About Susanna Kempe

A graduate of Cambridge University, Susanna’s professional experience includes over 15 years in senior leadership roles in international B2B and learning businesses. Susanna began her career at the Institute for International Research (IIR) where she first worked with Lord Laidlaw, rising to Chief Marketing Officer (CMO). When IIR, which was the world’s largest organiser of commercial conferences, was acquired by Informa plc in 2005 Susanna was appointed CMO of the enlarged group and also led the public company’s investor relations programmes. She subsequently joined Emap Ltd as Chief Marketing & Strategy Officer and CEO of Emap Networks, that group’s conferences business. Later she became CEO of the fashion industry forecaster WGSN and was latterly Group Content and Marketing Partner of the leading strategy consultancy Brunswick Group. A German-American raised and educated in the UK and a committed internationalist, Susanna has been involved in globally trading businesses throughout her career, directing activity in the Americas, across continental Europe, and the Asia Pacific. Susanna has been extensively involved with education and professional development over many years. She was Head of Group Training and led the commercial acquisition and integration of a portfolio of corporate training businesses whilst at IIR; and created learning academies at both Informa and Emap. She believes experiencing and appreciating different cultures promotes better global understanding, creativity and leadership. She is passionate about the power of education to transform lives; and believes that we need to develop a new generation of diverse leaders who are curious, bold and devoted to decency, truthfulness, and innovation. Susanna is committed to diversity not only as a societal imperative but as a critical component of commercial success. As an advisor to the trustees of the Foundation, Susanna first learnt about its purpose and programmes before becoming its Chief Executive responsible for the Laidlaw Schools Trust, the Laidlaw Scholars and its other education programmes. Susanna read English and Philosophy at Newnham College, University of Cambridge. She has five half blues in swimming and water polo; and played netball and rowed for Newnham.

I am a/an:

Staff Member/Trustee of the Laidlaw Foundation

Research Topic

Business & Management Gender Studies

Area of Expertise

Coaching and Mentoring Diversity and Inclusion Entrepreneurship

Intro Content

Webinar Leadership

The Leadership Lab: Professor Dame Sally Mapstone DBE, FRSE

Dive into my eye-opening conversation with Professor Dame Sally Mapstone as we unpack her leadership journey, her daily mantra, and reveal the hardest decision she's ever had to make as a leader.

Influencer Of

Popular Content

Recent Conversations

Recent Comments

Apr 03, 2024
Replying to Susanna Kempe

What a wonderful reflection. I love your definition of a global citizen; I am reminded of the F. Scott Fitzgerald quotation that: "The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposing ideas in mind at the same time". I hope there is no "after" Laidlaw and that you continue to share your insights here and stay connected with your Laidlaw peers as an alum. I look forward to seeing how you go on to impact the world.

That has made my day 🙏

Apr 03, 2024

What a wonderful reflection. I love your definition of a global citizen; I am reminded of the F. Scott Fitzgerald quotation that: "The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposing ideas in mind at the same time". I hope there is no "after" Laidlaw and that you continue to share your insights here and stay connected with your Laidlaw peers as an alum. I look forward to seeing how you go on to impact the world.

Mar 14, 2024

@Amirah Deji-Abiola - this is the one. 

Mar 08, 2024

@Amanda Flanagan - Iris Apfel proved that age is not something to apologise for!

Mar 04, 2024

I met Iris Apfel in New York at the Global Fashion Awards in 2010 when she won Style Icon of the year.  She was dazzlingly charming and unique, radiating a completely inspiring energy and zest for life. I cannot think of a better exemplar of the power of a growth mindset and being true to oneself. The world is a little duller today without her in it, but another star shines brightly in the sky. RIP Iris. 

Feb 21, 2024

Dr Rose Patten incredibly graciously carved out time in her whirlwind visit to the UK to meet with me. It is the first of these interviews that I have done in person and I think it made for an even more open conversation. There was literally no space between us. 

Inducted into the Hall of Fame of Canada’s top 100 Most Powerful Women over a decade ago, holding leadership roles in finance, health and academia, as well as being a special advisor and mentor to countless CEOs, as Princess mentions, I fully expected her to be wildly intimidating. She isn’t, at all. She came straight from a delayed flight, into an unexpectedly noisy venue which was frankly less than ideal for filming, and handled it all with charm and absolutely zero fuss. She radiates quiet intelligence and intentionality.

I think Scholars will be particularly interested in why everyone should be BOTH a mentor and a mentee, as well as why we can no longer think singly. 

I was as struck listening back to the interview as much by the power of what she left unsaid as to what she answered. See what you think, particularly around my questions on women in leadership.

The question she asks herself and every leader she meets, somehow manages to be so powerful, surprising and yet totally obvious in retrospect, all at once, that it is worth listening to just for that. At least I think so, hope you agree!

Feb 09, 2024

Thank you Liam for sharing such thoughtful and powerful reflections. I will hold on to the example of food vs tin foil when thinking about how it is possible to have two completely different answers to a challenging situation, which are both perfectly valid. Good luck with whatever comes next. I can't wait to see where you go on to lead.

Jan 23, 2024

Fantastic opportunity!

Details

Online Elsewhere