Skip to main content
Become a member


The IoD and me, Barbara Baker

Barbara Barker, IoD member

Barbara is Hospital Director for Nuffield Health, the largest healthcare charity in the UK. She is a self-starter and an inspirational leader with a proven track record in management excellence.

Barbara is also a Chartered Director and a Fellow of the IoD.

How did you get started in your career?

"I started off as a qualified nurse and then joined the army. I was Lieutenant in Queen Alexandra Royal Army Nursing Corp. During that time I was diagnosed with cancer and given 12 months to live. Obviously they got that wrong! I went to South Africa to recuperate and stayed for two years. I was employed at a hospital where there was a childcare facility for the staff’s children to use while the parents were at work.

"When I came back to the UK, I got married and started my own family. I was in a senior role as a sister on a hospital ward, doing long shifts and having nobody to care for my children while I was working. I ended up replicating that idea for a childcare facility over here. Within six or seven years, my business partner and I grew the nursery to about three times its original size. It was so successful that we started speaking to other hospitals."

Why did you decide to become a member of the IoD?

"It saved my business! I wanted to understand the legal responsibilities for the director and the board that linked back to my business. I started to get the business on track with doing the Chartered Director course and that also helped built up my confidence.

"I had the entrepreneurial skills, but the C Dir qualification was extremely helpful because it gave me the knowledge to build the business and take it to the next level of success. Another great benefit was simply sharing ideas with different people you meet on the courses, such as directors at Cadbury’s or Southern Railway. We were all facing similar problems. This led to conversations and thought processes and it was about sharing experiences and learning from each other."

Have you ever recommended an associate or colleague to be an IoD member?

"Yes. In fact, I recommended the whole board of the East Midlands Ambulance to join. I have recommended individuals as well, including my former bank manager. Also, many business owners I talked to about developing their business should know how the IoD can support them and help them to develop."