Keynote Overview 


More and more women in the UK are leading companies, sitting on boards and founding companies. In particular, there has been a surge in the numbers of young women setting up companies. But at the same time, there is a crisis in the wellbeing of young women ‚Äď young women in their early 20s are three times as likely as young men to suffer from stress, anxiety and depression. To rise in their careers, many feel under pressure to put off having children. Some companies are even offering high flyers egg freezing. Women leaders are often expected to work long hours ‚Äď meaning they cannot see their children enough. And government statistics show that around 10% of women give up their careers before they reach the top because of problems with the menopause. Too many great women leaders never quite make it too the top.


For too long women‚Äôs leadership and women‚Äôs wellbeing have been talked about as two completely separate issues. Many women leaders have introduced excellent wellbeing policies in their companies without talking about and tackling their own issues. Dorothy Byrne, who herself struggled as a senior leader in television while suffering from a post-menopausal autoimmune disease and significant symptoms of the menopause, says it is time for women leaders to put their own health and wellbeing first ‚Äď and she believes that by doing so, they will be more effective leaders and their companies will benefit.


In this keynote, Dorothy Byrne passionately advocates for a transformative shift, urging women to place their health and well-being at the forefront of effective leadership and live fulfilling lives. Join us for this impactful keynote and an urgent conversation on integrating women's leadership and well-being. Let's unite to redefine leadership and empower each other to thrive. Secure your ticket for the Rising Festival on 21 September and become an integral part of this game-changing discussion.

Q&A Chaired by Rising Festival Chair, Prof. Dame Carol Black, Chair of the British Library and Chair of the Centre for Ageing Better.


Presenter Bio:


Dorothy Byrne is the President of Murray Edwards College, University of Cambridge, a college for women. She took up the role in 2021. Under her leadership, the College has played a leading role in championing girls and women in STEM, particularly in physics, engineering, maths and computer science where they are underrepresented nationally and revealed a significant gender attainment gap in these subjects at Cambridge. In 2023, she announced the College, teaming up with AstraZeneca was launching an entrepreneurship scheme which would be open to all women students and recent alumnae across Cambridge. 


Prior to joining the College, Dorothy was Editor at Large at Channel 4, a role that was specially created for her when she stepped down as Head of News and Current Affairs after 15 years. During her time at Channel 4, Dorothy was responsible for news and current affairs programmes which have had a national and global impact, winning numerous Royal Television Society, BAFTA and Emmy awards. 


Dorothy was made a Fellow of the Royal Television Society for her ‚Äėoutstanding contribution to television‚Äô.¬† She also won the BBC Grierson Trustees Award for contribution to documentary at the British Documentary Awards; received the Outstanding Contribution Award at the Royal Television Society Journalism Awards; was¬†awarded a BAFTA Scotland Award for Outstanding Contribution to Television; and won the Women in Film and Television Award for contribution to television.¬†


Dorothy continues to work in international documentary. She was Executive Producer of Leaving Neverland, The Hunt for Jihadi John, Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields, The Ballymurphy Precedent, The Man Putin Couldn’t Kill, and Island of Secrets, a film about sex abuse in the Falklands..  


In 2019, Dorothy delivered the prestigious MacTaggart lecture at the Edinburgh Television Festival in which she criticised politicians for lying and failing to be held to account. 


In 2023 Dorothy delivered the James Cameron Memorial Lecture


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