Ciara Eastell is an experienced senior leader working within the cultural, HE and social enterprise sectors. She has been running her own consultancy and coaching business since May 2019 and has recently completed a 14 month interim role at Tate, leading on People and Culture issues across the institution. Alongside her own business, Ciara is also a Professor of Practice at the University of Exeter Business School, where she leads on external engagement for the Centre for Leadership. She also teaches on the Business School’s MBA programme.
She was the founding Chief Executive of Libraries Unlimited, the charity that runs 54 libraries across Devon and Torbay. She led the successful spin out from the local authority and Libraries Unlimited’s development and growth in its first 3 years, helping it secure a reputation as a recognised national leader in entrepreneurial and innovative library and cultural services. During Ciara’s tenure, the organisation featured as one of 50 organisations recognised by Nesta and the Observer as a ‘New Radical’ and was one of only six library services to gain National Portfolio Organisation (NPO) funding. With her experience of leading a mutual with a turnover of £9 million and over 350 staff, Ciara knows what it feels like to take a large staff team through radical change.
Ciara is a National Council member of Arts Council England and has held several national roles, including as President of the Society of Chief Librarians in 2014-16. She was awarded an OBE in 2017 for her services to libraries and received an honorary doctorate from the University of Sheffield in January 2019. She was amongst the first cohort of Fellows to take part in the Clore Leadership Programme in 2004/5 and was selected as one of 25 women in civic life in 2018 to be represented in a public statue as part of the national ‘Put Her Forward’ initiative. In 2017, she was selected as one of the WISE 100, Women in Social Enterprise.
Ciara is also a certified coach and supports her clients through her calm, kind and pragmatic approach.