Authentic leaders talking openly about themselves and their journey so far

Judith Donovan CBE

Non Executive DirectorPortfolio Career

Judith Donovan CBE was one of the first female entrepreneurs in Yorkshire, founding her own direct marketing agency, JDA, in 1982 which was featured twice in the Independent’s “100 Fastest Growing Companies.” As the chair of Bradford and District Training and Enterprise Council, Judith received her CBE honours in 1997 for services to training.
The first ever female president of Bradford Chamber of Commerce, in her own words Judith makes “a better chief, than an indian”, and has since pursued a non-executive career; serving on 29 Boards and remarkably chairing 9 of them, including The Eden Project Limited.
With great passion and boundless enthusiasm Judith talks to Heather Jackson about her key to surviving a masculine world by “borrowing their DNA”, of her encouragement and support of women business start-ups and believes trust and praise are the biggest motivators in bringing out the best in the talent of her teams; “a man who never made a mistake, never made anything.”

Official Biography

Judith Donovan CBE was one of the first female entrepreneurs in Yorkshire, founding her own marketing agency in 1982, which she grew to over 50 staff, and a turnover of £12.5 million, before selling to her managers in 2000.
Since then she has pursued a non–executive career, primarily in the Public and Third sectors, and currently is:
Chair of the Eden Project Ltd, Keep Me Posted Campaign and Royal Mail’s Strategic Mailing Partnership.
Director of York Mailing Group Ltd, British Wool Marketing Board and Hull University Union.
Public Member, Network Rail
Member of Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, Lord Chancellor’s Advisory Committee North Yorkshire and Ripon Cathedral Finance Board
Previously she has been Chair of the Yorkshire Tourist Board, Chair of Bradford TEC, President of Bradford Chamber of Commerce, Vice Chair of Postwatch, a Millennium Commissioner, a Director of HSE and BIG Lottery Fund and also a Trustee of Northern Ballet and the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust.