Beth Gardner was employed as Chief Executive with the Council for Learning Outside the Classroom at the start of January 2009. Beth has a strong background in LOtC-related areas supplemented with generic business management skills. She began her working life on a pig farm, having initially aspired to becoming a vet!! Things often don’t quite go to plan, so following a degree in environmental biology her true career path began working in the library service. A subsequent move took her into further education colleges after which she spent several years with the careers service in what is now Connexions. She then moved into local authorities and was involved with, amongst other things, working with schools and youth groups facilitating LOtC opportunities across the environmental spectrum, giving her direct and broad experience within the user sector.
An ecologist by training she progressed into the voluntary sector, gaining experience within the provider field, working in partnerships alongside a variety of partners spanning arts and creativity to farming and countryside. She spent several years as Director of Conservation and Marketing with Warwickshire Wildlife Trust – an organisation with a very strong education department committed to providing a wide range of high quality LOtC experiences for young people. Following a brief sojourn to live and work in Poland, Beth returned to the UK to take up a senior management role in a national health and social care charity, where she assumed responsibility for business development, which included strategy formulation, organisational development and fundraising.
Alongside her employment history Beth studied marketing, achieving Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) postgraduate qualifications; and an MBA, specialising in strategy, creativity and change management. She has a keen interest in the outdoors, and particularly enjoys running (she has completed her fifth half marathon), walking and playing hockey. She loves to travel, and is planning her next ski trip. Beth is also a school governor, and a Board member for the Forest School Association.