Jilly Forster is a natural born optimist. Negativity and gloom are the kind of status quo that she refuses to honour.
With over 30 years’ experience of working across the corporate, business, public sector and consumer arenas, Jilly has her own understanding of the issues and attitudes that drive change. She has a reputation for turning positive thinking into influential reality. When it comes to social and environmental innovation, Jilly is a firm believer in promoting opportunities for those who refuse to swallow the pill of austerity. She isn’t listening to people who say that brands are ditching green-themed marketing. While others are tinkering and talking about terminology, Jilly reckons there is no time to waste.
Jilly founded communications consultancy Forster in 1996, following eight years as a main board director at The Body Shop International, responsible for communications, campaignsand culture. She helped shape popular perceptions of the company as it became a global force for positive change. She established the environmental and social management and auditing systems; directed integrated stakeholder communication strategies in 49 countries; ran international campaigns on issues as diverse as animal testing, waste minimisation, domestic violence and human rights.
In 1985, Jilly launched the British Lung Foundation and campaigned to stop smoking. She masterminded The Body Shop’s first campaign in 1986 (Save The Whale, with Greenpeace). In 1987, she was heavily involved in AIDS/HIV awareness and spearheaded the launch of Richard Branson’s Mates condoms. In 1991, Jilly was a founding director of The Big Issue in the fight against homelessness. In 2000, she led Mind Out, the 3-year mental health stigma campaign. In 2004, she was a founding trustee of The Forgiveness Project, the restorative justice and conflict resolution charity. In 2009 Forster was named overall winner of the Sunday Times Greenest Company Award and Jilly established Forster AGEncy, in order to encourage organizations and the general public to adopt a new take on old age.
Today Jilly is CEO of Forster and a trustee of the dynamic Jamie Oliver Foundation. She will never retire and intends to become more radical with age.