Dr Sophie Carabine OBE


My aim is that we equip entrepreneurial leaders in food, agriculture and related industries so that they can navigate change and create sustainable growth. 

I bring a varied leadership career across industries centred on land and people, including urban and rural regeneration in the West Midlands. I served as Chief Executive of the National Forest, an example of how large areas can be regenerated through many interests working together, for which I was awarded an OBE. I have chaired the Potato Board for England Wales and Scotland (part of AHDB) and retain links with that highly competitive and fast changing industry.

Working in the NGO sphere, I have chaired TREE AID working in the dry lands of Africa to bring security and livelihoods to communities at risk and have served as the first female President of the Royal Forestry Society.

I tested my own entrepreneurial skills at 50 or so, by laying down full time executive life and founding The Corpse Project, an inter-disciplinary programme on options for the body after death, funded by the Wellcome Trust. I also began to share my leadership experience, as the author of ‘The Art of the Chief Executive’ and through providing formal, less formal and always affordable mentoring.

My PhD critiques a cognitively based theory of human development through the experience of institutionalised adults with learning disabilities. I remain passionate about how institutions and organisations promote or depress human thriving. With my family I fostered a teenager with special needs and care work has been a rich part of my life.

More widely, I believe that we are all complicit in a time of extraordinary risk for people and the planet -  my cardboard sign says ‘White Grans for Black Lives’ - and I am committed to working out how to connect an academic life, with its critical focus on land and leaders, and effective citizenship.

I am an independent panel member for DEFRA non-executive appointments and have chaired the Governance and Remuneration Committee of a social housing provider.

I am an Honorary Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Foresters and a Fellow of the Institute of Environmental Managers and Assessors (IEMA).


I am looking forward to developing research relating to business practice, leadership, competitiveness, sustainability and food equity.


I have taught graduates and undergraduates on the theories and realities of ethical and effective leadership at Cambridge and Harper Adams universities.