Sarah Gillinson

Sarah Gillinson

Director of Place Based Transformation

Sarah is currently the The Labour Party’s parliamentary candidate for Guildford. For the period leading up to the General Election, Sarah has stepped down from Chief Executive to Director of Place-Based Transformation. Sarah will be working for Innovation Unit part time, whilst campaigning part time.

Sarah has dedicated her career to addressing persistent inequalities and putting people at the heart of change in their lives and communities. Sarah has worked at Innovation Unit since 2009, leading major local, national and international innovation programmes, including DfE’s £250mn Children’s Social Care Innovation Programme, which has engaged almost every Local Authority in England. 

Sarah is currently co-leading GoodLives GM – a strategic partnership between Innovation Unit and the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA). GoodLives GM tackles inequalities by removing barriers to community-led innovation across the City Region.

Sarah has led the development of Innovation Unit over the past 10 years, including distilling our formula for innovation and impact, supporting the spin out of our sister organisation in Australia, and growing our team.

Sarah was previously Director of Strategy for the New York Public Library system, with responsibility for refreshing the organisation’s mission for the 21st Century. Prior to that, she was a researcher at Demos and the Overseas Development Institute, publishing on independent living, personalised learning, and collective action. Sarah is a Governor of the Museum of London.