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Sarah Weir is now chief executive of the Design Council, but when she left school at 16 she began a career as an insurance broker, rising to the top of her profession. After 15 years, however, she grew disillusioned and turned to the arts.
Sarah took a part-time University of London Birkbeck College degree in History of Art and then accepted a 90% pay cut to switch careers and went into arts management. She started at a commercial art gallery, then became deputy CEO of Arts & Business followed by a role as Fundraising director at the Royal Academy, then Director of the Almeida Theatre and executive director of Arts Council London.
As Head of Arts and Cultural Strategy for the Olympic Delivery Authority she laid the ground for the Cultural Olympics, and then founded the Legacy List, the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park Charity preparing the estate’s post-Games life as host to the V&A, Sadler’s Wells and the University of London. Sarah was made an OBE in 2011.
She was chief executive of Waddesdon Manor and then executive producer of the Roundhouse before joining the Design Council in 2017. She is also on the board of the Alzheimer’s Society, a Fellow of Birkbeck, and for eight years she served in the board of Stonewall, the charity devoted to supporting lesbian, gay, bi and trans people worldwide.