Susanna Kempe (She/Her)

CEO, Laidlaw Foundation
  • Laidlaw Foundation
  • People
  • United Kingdom

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

Web Article COVID-19 Business & Management Diversity and Inclusion

10 Steps to Breaking the Glass Ceiling in a Post-Covid19 World

Two things happened this week which reminded me that bemoaning the continued lack of gender equality, without committing to do something about it, is not only exhausting and misery inducing, but spectacularly pointless.

Influencer Of

Recent Conversations

Recent Comments

Jan 09, 2023

I love this quotation. When we talk about "determination" as one of our values, it is about this. Jamie Peacock calls it committing to going "the extra mile" - literally in his case. Success isn't spoonfed. It is why we build challenge, ambiguity and discomfort into the LiA summer. 
Pele also reminds me that leadership is complicated; his personal life was not as glorious as his football. He had affairs, he refused to acknowledge one of his daughters. There was, frankly, much of which one might disapprove. On the pitch though, he was, without question, extraordinary.  

Dec 02, 2022

This is such an exciting opportunity. The successful candidate will have the opportunity to work with the brilliant @Nikol Chen at the Laidlaw Foundation and the wonderful Executive Leadership team at LST which includes the amazing and inspiring @Sally Newton who many of you heard speak at the Global Scholars Conference this year. If you have ever thought about a career in comms and marketing this is a great place to start.

Oct 20, 2022

Excellent proposal Gulana, clearly and compellingly argued. How did you choose Practical Action? Does anyone know them at all? Thanks!

Oct 20, 2022

Thanks Josh, the note form works well. Did you all discuss Seeds of Trust and whether you thought they would be a good partner or was it just Group 4? The penultimate question was really trying to ascertain whether any Scholar or University already had experience leading programmes in this space or connections to the suggested partner e.g. the way in which Tufts leads the Kassisi project. There is a huge amount of work that goes into reviewing the charity partner's set-up, culture, proposed programme, safe guarding arrangements, accessibility, communications, etc. so it is incredibly helpful if someone has already worked with them and has done a thorough due diligence previously. Does anyone in the Group know Seeds of Trust well?  

Oct 17, 2022

@Callum, @Joshua Robert Chapman and @Marcelina Lekawska - this LQotW is for you. Thanks for demonstrating what it means to be a Laidlaw Scholar and nextgen leader. 

Sep 05, 2022

I love this quotation. I think I have learned more from the things that went wrong - the falls (small and truly epic) - than the things that have gone well. Serena is such a phenomenal leader. Her reading of "Still I Rise" by Maya Angelou is breathtakingly stunning and completely inspiring.

Jul 26, 2022
Replying to Susanna Kempe

Thanks Conor for such an interesting and informative blog post. I am so pleased you have had a good Laidlaw experience. I am particularly happy to read that you think the ethical leadership training has given you the ability to spot ethical blindspots and will help you to be a more ethical leader. I am not sure that we have quite nailed the best way of helping our Scholars build ethical resilience, or "moral muscle", so very interested to hear any other feedback or comments. What was your LiA?

That sounds like a wonderful experience. Are you fluent in Italian?

Jul 25, 2022

Thanks Conor for such an interesting and informative blog post. I am so pleased you have had a good Laidlaw experience. I am particularly happy to read that you think the ethical leadership training has given you the ability to spot ethical blindspots and will help you to be a more ethical leader. I am not sure that we have quite nailed the best way of helping our Scholars build ethical resilience, or "moral muscle", so very interested to hear any other feedback or comments. What was your LiA?

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