Mary Allen

Mary is a highly experienced coach, specialising in coaching at Board level in the public and private sectors, and for charities. Mary’s experience as a Chief Executive makes her particularly well-placed to support senior women executives for whom personal development can often take on a different context to that of their senior male colleagues.

After an early career as an actress, Mary worked as a management trainer and consultant. Mary took on a variety of non-executive, trustee and advisory roles in the not-for-profit arts sector, before becoming Director of Waterman’s Arts Centre in West London. She moved to the Arts Council of England in 1992, rising to the position of Secretary-General in 1994, just as the organisation took on the responsibility for the distribution of National Lottery funds.

In 1997 she was appointed Chief Executive of the Royal Opera House. Mary was also appointed Chairman of Breast Cancer Campaign, a charity that supports independent research into the causes and treatments for breast cancer.

Mary has written for The Times, The Economist and The Spectator. She has also presented various programmes for BBC Radio covering current events and the arts. Mary is now Chairman of the HighTide Drama and Film Festival.

Mary trained as a coach at the School of Coaching, founded by Myles Downey, one of Europe’s most renowned coaches and author of ‘Effective Coaching’, a seminal text on coaching.

Mary has an MA in English Literature from New Hall, Cambridge, and an MA in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia.

Mary can be contacted at