Julia Middleton

About the author

Julia Middleton is the founder and Chief Executive of Common Purpose Charitable Trust. She is passionate about helping people to develop as leaders, and campaigns to encourage leaders from all backgrounds to make an active and tangible contribution to their communities and to wider society.

In the autumn of 1989, Julia launched Common Purpose, a not-for-profit social enterprise. Common Purpose runs leadership development programmes that enable people from different backgrounds, sectors, geographies and generations to work together to solve common problems. In the process, we give participants the inspiration, skills and connections to become better leaders, both at work and in society.
Common Purpose runs local courses for leaders in cities across the world, and global programmes for leaders from over 100 countries across six continents. This year, 4,000 leaders will become Common Purpose alumni.

Julia has helped in the founding of: Demos (an independent think tank), Impetus Trust (developing venture philanthropy in the UK) and was also involved in the founding of the Media Standards Trust (fostering high standards in the news media) and Alfanar (developing venture philanthropy in the Arab world) and is now on the board of both. She also sits on the International Advisory Council for Fundação Dom Cabral (a non-profit business institution in Brazil).

Julia was born in London and educated at French Lycées around the world. She worked for the Industrial Society after receiving an economics degree from the London School of Economics. She is married and has five children.


  • Beyond Authority: Leadership in a Changing World, was published in 2007 by Palgrave Macmillan. The book explores a different approach to leadership when leaders start to operate beyond their own spheres of control.

  • Cultural Intelligence - CQ: the Competitive Edge for Leaders Crossing Borders was published in 2014. Julia defines Cultural Intelligence (CQ) as "the ability to cross divides and thrive in multiple cultures".


Areas of expertise

  • Giving leaders the skills, the connections and the vision they need to lead more effectively
  • Pushing them to extend their influence – and take responsibility – beyond their own organisation, locality and culture, not just within it 
  • Inspiring leaders to effect real change, both at work and in the wider world