Meet the Board: Rachel Neaman
July 23, 2018
Rachel Neaman is a digital leader specialising in digital transformation, ethics, skills and inclusion. She has extensive senior leadership experience in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors in the UK and internationally. Passionate about harnessing technology for positive social outcomes and ensuring technology works for everyone, she has held CEO positions in the not-for-profit sector, and was the first Head of Profession for Digital at the UK Department of Health. She now runs her own consultancy, Neaman Consulting. Rachel holds a number of non-executive roles. From 2013–16, she was Chair of the Digital Leaders network, and is now a non-executive member of the Digital Leaders, DigitalHealth.London and UKCloud Health Advisory Boards. In February 2018, she was appointed to the Board of the Campaign for Social Science. A strong advocate of the importance of diversity and gender equality, she mentors and supports girls and women interested in a career in technology. Rachel speaks regularly at conferences at home and abroad, is a frequent judge of digital awards, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (RSA). She has featured in Computer Weekly’s list of Most Influential Women in IT in 2016, 2017 and 2018.
What is your social science background?
Rachael Neaman (RN): I don’t have a formal social science background but studied languages at university. I started my career in publishing and have worked in the private, public and not-for-profit sectors in the UK and internationally. I’ve worked in academic and public policy settings as well as in government and social impact organisations in the third sector. I specialise now in the impact of digital technology on society, digital leadership and strategy, transformation and skills.
How have your social science skills benefited you in your career?
RN: There is a clear overlap between many of the issues surrounding the impact of digital technology on society and social science disciplines. Issues of trust, ethics and behaviour are core to the work I do and given the pace of change in our digital world, there is huge value in looking at the impact through a human rather than purely technological lens.
What motivated you to join the Campaign Board and what do you hope to achieve?
RN: I strongly believe in the values and aims of the Campaign and the importance of the social sciences. As a Board member, I will bring my expertise in: public policy and practice from my work with government and the public sector; communications and outreach from my professional background; international perspectives from my links with global organisations; and fundraising and campaigning from my day jobs, to further the work of the Campaign and support my colleagues.
What are some interesting upcoming projects you’re working on?
RN: I’m involved in a range of exciting projects. To give a flavour of the next few months, I’m doing some work as a CEO Mentor for the Girl Guides to encourage more young women into careers in technology. I’m doing some filming on achieving agility through diversity looking specifically at how to ensure our tech workforce is as diverse as the society it serves. I am speaking in Australia in Adelaide at an international conference on digital humanities and in Canberra on the ethics of Artificial Intelligence (AI), both topical issues of great importance given the recent headlines on the positive and not-so-positive applications of AI. And of course I’m looking forward to working with my colleagues on the Campaign Board to increase the impact of the social sciences across the UK.