Eliza Manningham-Buller headed Britain’s Security Service (MI5) from 2002 to 2007, leading the organisation though substantial change in the wake of 9/11 and the threat from Al-Qaeda.
During her time at the helm, MI5 doubled in size, opened eight new offices and altered its approach to the professional development of staff with the establishment of a training academy.
Earlier in her career, Eliza led the Service’s investigation into the Lockerbie bombing. She served in Washington during the first Gulf war, returning to establish MI5’s intelligence effort against the Provisional IRA in mainland Britain. She joined the board and assumed lead responsibility for work on Irish terrorism, surveillance, technical collection, finance and IT before becoming Deputy Director General in charge of intelligence operations.
In presentations Eliza draws on her experience in the most demanding of environments to stress the need for leaders in any walk of life to engage in frank dialogue and invite criticism: “Do not try to be something you’re not, take responsibility for your team, and remember that praising people takes seconds and can make an enormous difference. And don’t forget that humour can be found even in the most awful situations.”
Eliza Manningham-Buller is a cross-bench Peer and a Governor of the Welcome Trust. She was also chosen to deliver the prestigious BBC Reith Lectures, alongside the Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
Each year Shaylor Group holds its prestigious annual SiteLink event for around 300 of its employees, and this year we were delighted to host Baroness Eliza Manningham-Buller as our guest speaker. Eliza was briefed on our agenda of diversity and women in construction beforehand which enabled her to expertly depict comparisons between the secret world of MI5 and the business world. Our staff were captivated by her inspirational close up look at life in the diverse and intense work required to successfully manage the multiple pressures of dealing with extremism.
Eliza’s talk concluded with a light-hearted Q&A Session which was equally entertaining and thought-provoking.
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