Sitting in The Rubens at The Palace, having afternoon tea with K.Middleton, our new President, overlooking Buckingham Palace Elaine Atkins (MSc Programme Leader), Jill Kerr (Chair of Education) and Emily Goodlad (Chair of Council) could not believe they were there with K. Middleton. Not Kate Middleton, but the K.Middleton, Karen, Chief Executive of The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP).

Karen is delighted to be our President, and having trained as a Fellow of SOMM in the 90s, she described accepting the offer as "coming home". Karen said she remembers attending her first Module A with SOMM as a student and thinking "I get it now" after all that she learnt on assessing, diagnosing and treating the upper limb. She also has fond memories of being a Fellow and working with the teaching team.

Karen, as Chief Executive of The CSP, is keen to promote leadership development and is encouraging physiotherapists to become more political with a small 'p'. She feels the profession needs to punch much higher than it does now and the timing couldn’t be better with the focus shifting to the quality of life we lead and not just the length of that life – this requires a greater focus on enabling people to manage their own conditions which is something the physiotherapy profession is highly skilled at. She intends to do this by modeling good leadership herself, as well as talking about it at all the numerous events she is invited to, sharing her experiences, both good and bad, and the lessons she is still is learning. She feels more leaders need to share their experiences and journeys in order to nurture the next generation.


During her career as a physiotherapist Karen has been inspired by many people but her top three are Helen Shaffner, her Principal at St Mary's Hospital where she trained to be a physiotherapist, because she was so 'normal and grounded', Hilary Scott, Chief Executive at Tower Hamlets who taught her the importance of good communication and gave Karen her first chance outside of physiotherapy, and, controversially, Gordon Brown who Karen admires for his intellect and moral compass.

While President Karen is keen to support SOMM and has already got her 'thinking hat' on to help us fulfill one of our strategic aims which is to increase our research profile by supporting topical  research within the field of musculoskeletal medicine.

Outside of work Karen enjoys sailing, skiing and scuba diving but, she stresses, is not very good at any of them... On her bucket list she has; ride a Boris bike around London, write a novel, be invited onto 'Strictly' to learn to dance properly, visit Fiji and an expedition to Antarctica. Her ideal 5 dinner guests would be David Beckham, Stephen Fry, Gordon Brown, Audrey Hepburn and Che Guevara.