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Sarah Ruane Director of Advocacy

Organisation: Macmillan Cancer Support

  • GenerationQ
  • 9

About me

Sarah has worked at local and national level in senior leadership roles influencing and developing policy, building and executing high level value-creating partnerships and programmes and designing and implementing advocacy work and campaigns to reduce inequalities and create positive impact on societal issues. Sarah specialises in health and wellbeing related policy.

Today she provides leadership to Macmillan Cancer Support's Advocacy division, delivering policy, public affairs and campaigns activity across all four nations of the UK aimed at achieving systemic change to improve the lives of people living with cancer and ensures they have a voice.

Before joining Macmillan, Sarah defined and led Sport England's health strategy, from concept to delivery with proven results. She was the visionary and driving force behind We Are Undefeatable, the charity-led advocacy campaign to support behaviour, system and policy change and led a unique collaboration with Public Health England/ the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities to advocate for the value of physical activity in the health system. 

Sarah has worked in a range of roles in local government gaining a breadth of experience working alongside people and communities to improve public services and tackle inequalities including mental health, obesity, older people, children and young people, green spaces and lower socio-economic groups. Most recently, she was Head of Preventative Health, Leisure and Cultural Services and developed and led a new strategy and teams, securing funding for and delivering a service transformation programme for the positive benefit of residents

By participating in Generation Q, Sarah gained new knowledge, skills and applied experience in contextual, relational and personal leadership to successfully lead sustainable, collaborative, systemic change, for the benefit of people. She used the opportunity to deliver the following:

- Provided support to the strategy team, applying course learning, offering advice to the development of the new strategy, engaging with colleagues and stakeholders. 

- Led on ‘Learning from Now’, an internal engagement programme to identify what lessons covid-19 had taught us about how we work and identified key areas of improvement including recommendations for our workplace values and behaviours. 

- Led a cross-organisational group and work stream (Strategic Insight and Future Focus) designed to offer reflection time, lead and inspire colleagues to look to the future, identify opportunities and consider this in their daily choices.

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