Dame Julia Unwin was the Chief Executive of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation from 2007 until the end of 2016. She has been a Charity Commissioner, Chair of the Refugee Council and Deputy Chair of the Food Standards Agency. She has written extensively on issues relating to philanthropy, governance, the voluntary sector and its relationship with government. Her most recent publication, "Why Fight Poverty?" was published in November 2013.
Dame Julia is currently a non-executive director of the Mears Group plc, and of Yorkshire Water. She is Chair of the Governing Body of York St John University, is a member of the First Minister Scotland's Council of Economic Advisers and chaired the Independent Inquiry into the Future of Civil Society. In 2010, she was awarded the Outstanding Leadership Award in the Charity Awards and has received honorary doctorates from three universities. Julia was appointed a Dame in the 2020 New Year Honours.
Dame Julia is also the Chair of the Regulatory Standards & Codes Committee, a member of Audit & Risk Committee and the People Committee.