Jane Kirby
Jane Kirby
Head Girl 1978-79

After Bedales, where did you study?

BSc University of Edinburgh, MSc The City University

What is your current role?

Bedales Librarian/Archivist

Main positions of responsibility or influence in and out of the work place since leaving school

Project Manager, IMS Health (Market Research Agency); Treasurer, West Surrey Guild of Spinners, Weavers and Dyers.

What do you consider to be the most important attribute of leadership?

Being open and honest with people; not falling back on management-speak and jargon; allowing everyone to understand the whole picture, ie. not using a position of authority to withhold information.

Identify any role models (and their position) who helped shape your leadership approach?

I think the motto of ‘Work of Each for Weal of All’ influenced me more than I had realised...


My immediate boss at IMS Health who was the only MBA in the organisation not to rely on obfuscating jargon but dealt absolutely straight with everyone.  She was French and liable to dramatic outbursts but we all knew where we stood and never felt that other games were being played behind our backs.

In what way did your time at Bedales influence your education and career progression?

I think the motto of ‘Work of Each for Weal of All’ influenced me more than I had realised as I was astonished when I started work at how territorial people were and how they would refuse to co-operate or go beyond their job description, especially if it meant doing something more menial such as stuffing envelopes.  The other benefit it gave me was the experience of working with the opposite sex and not being thrown into confusion by young men at university or work; perhaps this is less relevant nowadays but was still quite significant for my generation.  I hope I started work with a healthy respect for my colleagues’ greater experience, but also confident enough to speak up and make suggestions.  Another lesson I had learned was futility of long committee discussions when the conclusions could still be vetoed by higher authority, ie. staff!  On the downside, Bedales may have lost me one of the first jobs I applied for as “the school with no discipline” to quote one of the interviewers.

What is your fondest memory of Bedales?

Clear fresh early mornings in autumn; end of summer dances in the Orchard; Le Mans.

What is your favourite pastime?

Weaving (something I doubt I would have learned elsewhere), reading and going to the theatre.

What is your proudest achievement?

A lasting marriage and two happy, healthy, well-balanced children.

We are grateful to Jane for responding to this survey in 2011 as part of a leadership study of former Bedales head boys and head girls.