Vanessa Swann

Vanessa is an experienced former CEO of a major arts and social enterprise charity and has been consulting for several years in-house and independently. She specialises in Organisational Development, Capacity Building and Change Management for a wide range of Arts and Social Enterprises, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and local authorities.

Her work involves designing and conducting processes for building agreement about what steps are needed for a change process and establishing the momentum to see these steps through. This often necessitates working with the whole client system, looking at the organisation in the round. Vanessa is comfortable providing leadership during times of change and able to work well at Board level and with whole staff teams.  She brings energy to situations and works alongside individuals and teams to help them work through challenges dynamically and systematically.

Key skills & experience

Vanessa has a proven track record at an Executive Director level of successfully starting up, growing and expanding Arts and Social Enterprise organisations, including turnaround, investment and enterprise development.

Her key skills and expertise include:

  • Strategic and business planning
  • Leadership development
  • Change management
  • Social enterprise development
  • Fundraising and earned income/sustainable funding
  • Charity management and governance
  • Stakeholder engagement and partnership working
  • Negotiation
  • Property development and management


Recent projects

  • Change management for a community arts organisation involving a new communications and political influencing strategy.
  • Strategic support involving an organisational restructure for and repositioning of a regional arts centre with business planning and HR advice.
  • 360-degree organisational review of a local authority-owned performing arts centre to achieve cost savings and improve operational effectiveness.
  • Strategic support to align services offered by a regional crafts centre with local authority tourism strategies.
  • Facilitator for a national social sector organisation helping managers working remotely to decide on new ways of working together to better support organisational goals.
  • Consultancy for Charities Aid Foundation Global Alliance’s PeerEx Alumni Collaboration Programme to develop closer links between UK and Russian organisations involved in social change and civil society development.

Eastside Primetimers