Adele has helped companies such as Sony, Coca-Cola, and O2 to implement CSR strategies. She strongly believes that big businesses can learn lessons from the third sector, as well as charities learning from the corporate world. Adele's strength as a speaker is to connect her own world with the worlds of her audience.
Adele Blakebrough is Chief Executive of the Social Business Trust, and one of the UK’s most influential social entrepreneurs. She is an inspirational keynote speaker on corporate responsibility.
She founded SBT in 2010 and set out on a mission to identify growing social enterprises and to help scale them up, with the help of partners, including Credit Suisse, Clifford Chance, British Gas and BT.
Adele’s skill in bringing together large commercial businesses with small non-profits lies at the heart of SBT’s success.
Adele was Director of Kaleidoscope, a ground-breaking London charity aimed at stabilising the lives of heroin addicts.
She built her reputation as a social entrepreneur through CAN (Community Action Network) which she co-founded with Lord Andrew Mawson. In 2006, she was awarded an MBE for services to social enterprise and in 2007, she won the Sieff Prize for her collaboration with business in pursuit of social benefit.
Throughout her career, Adele has carried the message that charities need to learn from business and business from the third sector.
She has worked on corporate responsibility with companies such as Sony Europe, Bain, Coca Cola, Royal Sun Alliance, O2 and Panasonic.
Adele is a witty and highly engaging speaker, who is never afraid to tell stories about things that have gone wrong in order to help people understand how to improve their chances of getting things right. She knows the worlds of the third sector, the public sector and business and can talk with insight and inspiration about getting the best out of people in all three. She is comfortable in a wide range of settings. She has spoken with great impact to large gatherings of civil servants, management consultants, bankers, professional women and at a number of party political conferences.
Adele's strength as a speaker is to connect her own world with the worlds of her audience, so that people find themselves inspired in their own situation through intensified understanding of someone else's challenges and triumphs. So, the banker and management consultant gain insight from the world of community re-cycling or drug abuse.
Adele originally trained as a Baptist Minister, which could explain the vividness of her speaking style. Although no longer working as a Minister, she still conducts occasional ceremonies, such as the funeral of the writers JG Ballard and Patrick Hannan.
She also co-organised the famous Great Banquet which, in 1997 brought together over a meal in London an extraordinary mix of people, from the the then leader of the Labour Party Tony Blair and the Rev Jesse Jackson to a group of ex-drug addicts and other "clients" of London's social entrepreneurs. She sat at the Cabinet table with Prime Minister David Cameron and Deputy PM Nick Clegg when they launched their ‘Big Society’ programme in 2010 and, more recently, she has convened a top level summit on the role of social enterprise in education, with the support of Ministers and ex-Ministers from across the political spectrum.