Ruth Spellman OBE

Ruth Spellman is the first female chief executive in the 116 year history of the WEA - the UK’s largest voluntary sector provider of adult education in England and Scotland. In her fourth CEO position, with 40 years of management experience, Ruth is using this and her own experience of how education can change people’s lives, to shape the future of the organisation.

Ruth was awarded an OBE in 2007 for services to workplace learning and an Honorary Doctorate from Cranfield University in 2010 for exceptional contribution to Management and Leadership.

Ruth’s early experience in the public sector saw her lead the HR consulting practice at Coopers and Lybrand. Following this Ruth became HR Director at NSPCC, modernising the organisation’s approach to developing its people and winning the Employer of the Year Award in 1996. Ruth went on to lead Investors in People where she overhauled the IIP brand, which subsequently became an acknowledged Superbrand.

Ruth then went on to become the first female Chief Executive of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers, where she led a diversity strategy and focussed on retention of female talent.