Jane Slowey had a long-standing connection with the city and University of Birmingham, having graduated from Birmingham in 1974 with a degree in French Language and Literature and Italian. Over the course of her career she combined parenting responsibilities with community activism, local politics, voluntary work and Third Sector leadership. She spent eight years as a Birmingham City Councillor, chairing the Community Affairs Committee, serving on the Housing and Economic Development Committees and leading the development of the City Council’s devolution policy in the 1990s. In 1998, she became CEO of Birmingham Voluntary Service Council and from 2004-17 Jane was the Foyer Federation Chief Executive. In 2007 she joined Commonweal as a Trustee bringing to her role her extensive experience in the Third Sector and local, regional and national government, as well as her passion for social justice. Jane was also a member of the first University of Birmingham Policy Commission, which produced a report on the future of local public services.
Jane was a passionate campaigner against social injustice and consistently sought out opportunities to represent and advocate for change. At the Foyer Federation, she helped reposition the organisation as a champion for ‘Advantaged Thinking,’ an approach that focused on assets rather than deficits and viewed young people as possibilities for investment rather than problems to be solved. Jane received a CBE for services to disadvantaged young people in 2009, she was named Birmingham University’s Alumna of the Year in 2010 and held Honorary Degrees from Newman University and the University of Birmingham.