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Combining enterprise and charity, Lisa Gagliani, MBE

Lisa Gagliani MBE, the CEO of Independent Arts, has embarked on a remarkable career journey driven by a sense of purpose.

Her professional path has evolved from an initial interest in the food industry to roles within the enterprise landscape, where she supported businesses, and eventually, she transitioned into leadership roles within non-profit organisations.


Throughout her career, Lisa has worn various hats, from leading prominent national charities to her current role as the leader of a small arts charity on the Isle of Wight. Renowned as a 'straight shooter,' she is deeply passionate about her work and takes pride in her versatile, hands-on approach to charity leadership.


Lisa's journey started with a dual-subject degree in home economics and philosophy of education, igniting her fervour for nutrition and education. She initially delved into the food industry, working for a health food company that placed a strong emphasis on nutritious products. Her zeal for promoting healthy eating and improving dietary choices played a pivotal role in shaping her professional journey.


During a period of her career, Lisa's role involved supporting Tupperware distributors, offering her invaluable insights into empowering small local businesses and the dynamics of franchising.

However, as her family's priorities shifted, she revaluated her career. No longer willing to spend extended periods away from home, she dedicated a fulfilling decade to working at the Kingston Chamber of Commerce. Throughout this period, Lisa's entrepreneurial spirit and ardent commitment to supporting businesses and enterprise became unmistakably evident.


A pivotal moment in her career unfolded when she joined Bright Ideas Trust, an organisation with a core focus on nurturing young entrepreneurs. Her impactful contributions significantly empowered disadvantaged youth, enabling them to venture into entrepreneurship and establish their businesses.

Lisa's commitment to the charity sector earned her an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire). The recognition highlighted her contributions, particularly her role in leading a charity that empowered disadvantaged young individuals to launch their enterprises. Although the charity, Bright Ideas Trust, is no longer in operation, its legacy remains indelible.

Reflecting on the unforgettable MBE award ceremony, Lisa recalls, "Receiving the MBE was a truly unexpected honour. In a brief one-on-one exchange, Her Majesty (the Queen) likened my work to what Prince Charles does, referencing the Prince's Trust and its support for small businesses. It was a delightful moment."


Subsequently, Lisa took on the role of CEO at the Childhood Trust, dedicating just over two years to London's child poverty charity. Her role was dedicated to alleviating the impact of poverty on children and young people in the capital.


Today, as the CEO of Independent Arts, Lisa continues her mission to empower vulnerable individuals and foster connections through the arts on a very local level on the Isle of Wight where she lives. Her primary focus, along with her team, revolves around enhancing well-being, reducing social isolation, and improving the overall quality of life.


Beyond her professional achievements, Lisa enjoys a fulfilling personal life, marked by marriage to a professional landscape painter and the pride of being a mother to two grown sons and two cherished small dogs.

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