Deborah Rowland speaker

Deborah Rowland

Globally sought after adviser and coach to top leaders navigating large scale change

Known for her unique insight, research and experience into the leadership of change, Rowland is a gifted moderator and “agent provocateur” of large scale engagement events and company conferences. She has personally led change in major corporations such as BBC Worldwide, PepsiCo and Shell.

Videos of Deborah Rowland

Deborah Rowland speaker, European Business Forum 2017 | ODEON Odense Thinkers 50 Europe
Is Change Changing
Inspiring thinking

Speaker Profile

About Deborah Rowland

Deborah Rowland brings a unique combination of experience, insight and research to the leadership of change. She has personally led change in major global organisations including Shell, Gucci Group, BBC Worldwide and PepsiCo holding both Group HR and VP of Organizational & Management Development roles.

Deborah also founded and grew a consulting firm that pioneered research in the field, and act as change coach to the executive boards of major corporations such as the German energy giant RWE. Other clients have included De Beers, Dell Computers, Diageo, GlaxoSmithKline, Kraft Foods, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Prudential, Rolls-Royce Holdings, Royal Dutch Shell and Unilever.

Her research into the leadership of change has been widely published in academic journals and was accepted as a paper at the 2016 Academy of Management conference. She enjoys speaking at conferences on the subject of change and its leadership.


Deborah has a double first in archaeology and anthropology from Cambridge University - which continues to inform her work - and she is the co-author of Sustaining Change: Leadership That Works (Wiley, 2008).

Deborah's career and life journey has led her to live in several places around the world – including the UK but also New York, Switzerland, and France. Her latest book, Still Moving: How To Lead Mindful Change is based on her 2015 groundbreaking research into the realities of leading change and will be published in February 2017.


  • Recognised for her ground breaking research into the successful leadership of change which unites academic rigour with real world relevance
  • Unique track record that combines top executive industry experience, extensive consulting engagement, and academic research
  • Provocative teacher on executive leadership programmes and inspiring speaker at leadership conferences around the world
  • Gifted writer on the leadership of change with one book already published and still in the Amazon top selling change books list, Sustaining Change: Leadership That Works (Wiley 2008), and a further book now in writing
  • A curious lifelong anthropologist with credibility working across multiple sectors, nationalities and cultures
  • Appointed to the Archbishop’s Review Group in the Church of England overseeing leadership development for the church’s Renewal and Reform programme
  • Southampton Business School – Faculty Board of Advisors
  • Henley Management College and Bath Management School – lecturer in leadership & change management on Executive MBA

Current / Past Roles & Positions

  • Member of the Archbishop’s Review Group into leadership development in the Church of England
  • Change Coach to the RWE Executive Board (May 2013-)
  • People Director, BBC Worldwide (September 2011-April 2013)
  • Global VP Human Resources, Gucci Group (January-May 2011)
  • Transcend Consultancy (formerly Rowland Fisher Lexon Consulting) – (1998-2010) Managing Partner (from 2004)
  • Shell International Petroleum Company:  Senior Organisational Effectiveness Consultant (1997-1998)
  • PepsiCo: Vice President Organisational & Management Development (1992-1997)
  • Towers Perrin: Senior Consultant (1990-1992)

Awards, accolades, achievements, honours

  • BA (Double First) Archaeology & Anthropology; Cambridge University (1980-1983). 
  • Tavistock Institute Leicester Group Relations conference (August 2015)
  • COLPI qualified  - Systemic Constellations training with Judith Hemming (2010)
  • NTL (National Training Laboratory) Organisational Development certificate (2008)

Speaking Topics

  • Leading change and innovation
  • Leadership skills for the VUCA world
  • Mergers and acquisitions: how to get the implementation right
  • Top team effectiveness: how to leverage for strategic decision making and cultural change
  • How to accelerate the impact of leadership development and organisational learning


"I have worked and learnt with Deborah for over a year now exploring the use of a systemic lens in the development of strategy, change and leadership in business. Her ability to grasp concepts quickly is matched by a confidence to be innovative with their application. I sincerely believe it puts her at a cutting edge of leadership in that it enables her to work effectively in a climate of complexity, uncertainty and ambiguity. Seeing the whole, she is able to create and communicate a pathway way to an end goal – it’s probably the essential competence for executives in global companies" - Managing Partner, Change Consultancy

"Deborah’s expertise in the field of change management and her facilitation style made the difference in self examination and learning. She encouraged and motivated participants, individually and collectively, to think about the way a system can be changed from where we stand. Deborah is “number one” in my book." - SVP, Pharma

"Is public speaking a profession or a gift? I am convinced it is both after I witnessed Deborah speaking at our annual top 250 leadership conference" - Group CEO, Dax 30 company

"It exceeded our already high expectations. It delivered an impact that left people motivated and upbeat. The wow factor of the conference." - Reckitt Benckiser

"Deborah is a unique change practitioner. She combines a passion for helping leaders navigate change successfully, a deep understanding of current and past change research, and an exceptional personal presence as adviser, coach and agent provocateur" - Commercial Director, Consultancy

"An excellent, authentic and thoughtful speaker: Deborah provides an intelligent analysis of key issues around transformational leadership and change management in stark contrast to rather more ‘trite’ presentations on these topics." - Professor in Strategy & Innovation at University of Southampton

"Deborah is an insightful and inspiringly authentic presenter who brought light and heart to what can be a topic that we walk past as leaders, the internal work. I hope we cross paths again." - Positive & Mindful Leader Conference, London 2017

Books By Deborah Rowland

  • Sustaining Change: Leadership That Works (Wiley, 2008); co-author with Professor Malcolm Higgs
  • Still Moving: The Inner and Outer Game of Change Leadership (Wiley, in writing 2016)


  • Higgs, M.J., & Rowland, D. A., (2011) What does it take to implement change successfully? A study of the behaviour of successful change leaders. Journal of Applied Behavioral Science.
  • Higgs, M. J., and Rowland, D. A., (2010) Emperors With Clothes On: The Role of Self-awareness
  • in Developing Effective Change Leadership', Journal of Change Management, 10: 4, 369 — 385
  • Higgs, M.J., and Rowland, D. (2008). Change Leadership that works: The role of positive Psychology. Organisations and People; 15,2,pp12-19
  • Higgs, M.J., and Rowland, D. (2008). Change leadership and global organizations: Challenges and Dilemmas. Strategic Change.
  • Higgs, M and Rowland, D. A., (2006) Leadership, Change and Learning, Organisations and People, February 2006, Vol.13, No. 1 pp 23-29.
  • Higgs, M. J., & Rowland, D. A., (2005). All changes great and small: Exploring approaches to change and its leadership. Journal of Change Management, 5, 121-151.
  • Higgs, M.J. and Rowland, D.A., (2002). Does it take EI to Lead Change. Journal of Gen Mgmt Vol 27, no 3.
  • Higgs, M.J. and Rowland, D. A., (2001). Developing Change Leaders: Assessing the impact of a development programme. Change Management Journal Volume Two, Number One, August 2001.  ISSN 1469-7017
  • Higgs, M.J. and Rowland, D. A., (2000). Building Change Leadership Capability: ‘The Quest for Change Competence.’  Journal of Change Management. Volume One, Number Two, November 2000.  ISSN 1469-7017
  • Higgs,M.J., and Rowland, D. A., (1993).  All Pigs are Equal - Teamworking - Management Education and Development (January 1993)

Fee Details

Home Region

Deborah Rowland travels from

On Twitter

To book Deborah Rowland call +44 (0)1628 636600 or email

Similar Speakers to Deborah Rowland

Rene Carayol leadership speaker
Charismatic speaker & business guru specialising in leadership and culture. READ MORE
Lucy Adams speaker
Former HR Director & Executive Board Member of the BBC. READ MORE
Erin Meyer speaker
INSEAD's Expert in Cross-Cultural Management and winner of the Thinkers 50 2015 Radar Award READ MORE
Rahaf Harfoush speaker
A strategist, digital anthropologist, and best-selling author who focuses on the intersections of emerging technology, innovation, and digital culture. READ MORE
Nilofer Merchant speaker
Digital & Future Thinker - Go-Getting Go-To Advisor - Grows Companies READ MORE
Erica Dhawan
Champion of connectional intelligence, author, and thought leader READ MORE

Please note:
1. Fee guidelines are for speaking engagements taking place in England
2. Regrettably, we cannot contact Deborah Rowland on your behalf unless it is for a genuine speaking engagement.
3. We also will not supply contact details for Deborah Rowland or any other speaker without their express consent.