Julia was the Chief Executive of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation from 2007 until the end of 2016. She has been a Charity Commissioner, Chair of the Refugee Council and Deputy Chair of the Food Standards Agency. She has written extensively on issues relating to philanthropy, governance, the voluntary sector and its relationship with government. Her most recent publication, “Why Fight Poverty?” was published in November 2013.
She is currently a non-executive director of the Mears Group plc, of Yorkshire Water and of the Financial Reporting Council. She chaired the Independent Inquiry into the Future of Civil Society, has a Fellowship with Carnegie UK Trust, and is a trustee of the Dartington Hall Trust. In 2018 she was appointed to the Council of Economic Advisers by the First Minister of Scotland. In 2010 Julia was awarded the Outstanding Leadership Award in the Charity Awards and has received honorary doctorates from three universities.