Outset Professionals

Executive Education Bursary, Harvard Business School, 2016

Outset alumni Charlotte Appleyard is currently the Director of Development at the Royal Academy, and the youngest female executive at a London arts organization. Outset contributed towards the funding of the General Management Program at Harvard Business School, part of the university’s Executive Education, which Charlotte attended in 2016. She was the first member of staff to go to business school. The Royal Academy covered an 80% of the course’s fees, and Outset and other private donors the remaining. With the Royal Academy’s contribution amounting to a third of the institution’s annual training budget for the entire staff, the Board’s decision represented a step change in ambition for executive training and an unprecedented investment.

The General Management Program’s goals include to sharpen critical competencies, build powerful teams, set strategies, create sustainable value and become an outstanding general manager.

With this in mind, Appleyard hopes to utilize that expertise to change the game for cultural leadership in the UK, where the kind of advanced leadership training available at Harvard is not on offer. She aims to lead the RA to be a beacon for self-sustainability in the arts and to develop the analytical and advocacy skills required to bring robust processes and strategies to a 250-year-old British institution that is positioning itself alongside leading American museums. She seeks to make the institution more confident in a longer-term approach to revenue generation and building loyalty amongst its audiences for the next 250 years.

Following her training, Appleyard wants to use what she learns from Harvard Business School as the basis for a training programme that will inspire her staff of 43 and the broader RA to think holistically about its business model. She will also deliver a master-class to Outset staff and deliver a full-day workshop for arts professionals working in arts and cultural development and fundraising across UK institutions.

Outset has always been ahead of the curve with regards to the need to rethink cultural funding and able to identify key areas that are under funded or ignored by other bodies, such as staff’s executive and management training benefitting cultural organisations.

Funding for cultural management development is almost non-existent in the UK. Outset’s support would, therefore, go far beyond just one individual and influence the next generation of cultural fundraisers and leaders.


Whilst the financial support Outset provide to the arts is much needed and gratefully received, their real gift is the ability to identify a problem and solve it. Whether it be helping institutions to build their collections or helping London to save its creative spaces, Outset do not just fund, they find creative solutions and contribute in a vital way to the cultural ecology.

Charlotte Appleyard, Director of Development, Royal Academy of Arts