The Institute of Directors (IoD) has appointed Natalia Blagburn as its regional Skills and Education Ambassador.
Natalia is Senior Lecturer at Northumbria University’s Newcastle Business School and vice-chair of the IoD North East (North) branch.
The appointment comes as the IoD launches its Next Gen Director programme and relaunches its student membership package.
IoD chair Charlotte Valeur has placed skills and education at the top of the Institute’s agenda, with a mission to forge strong partnerships with Higher Education institutions that connect students with business leaders.
The aim is to provide students with a strong grasp of how boards operate, while a ‘reverse mentoring’ scheme will help businesses tap into the insights of the next generation.
Natalia is an experienced venture capital investment manager now researching start-up boards and working with student entrepreneurs. She is a governor of Newcastle High School for Girls and a trustee of Northern Stage, the largest theatre producing company in the North East.
As an IoD Ambassador Natalia will provide local connectivity with branch members and give a local voice to the Institute’s work with education providers and students.
Natalia said: “As we emerge from this incredibly challenging time for all types of businesses, we must strengthen the links between business and academia. Those of us with experience in business need to nurture young people, equipping them with the skills and confidence to step into our shoes and provide pathways for young people to join boards.”
Ammar Mirza CBE, chair of the IoD North East (North) branch, added: “I’m delighted that Natalia has taken on this important role. She is a passionate advocate for giving young people the best opportunities to forge a business career. Through our Next Gen Director programme, the IoD intends to play a pivotal role in creating our leaders of the future.”
The IoD is the UK’s number one organisation for directors, providing support, events, professional development and a lobbying voice for all types of business. The Institute helped to secure vital support for directors during the Covid-19 pandemic, including financial assistance for wage bills and changes to insolvency rules.