Lara is an absolute pleasure to work with! She facilitated a day long meeting for our partners, including a number of reflective workshops which encouraged both evaluative thinking, and future planning. She created an open and honest environment in which lots of different people felt comfortable to share their thoughts and opinions, even on more complex topics. Her friendly approach meant that the day felt fun and engaging, and that challenging questions could be asked without fear of causing offence.
General Manager, National Partners Programme
Arts Council Collection
Community Arts Northwest
Lara facilitated some very valuable sessions for CAN’s staff team and stakeholders interrogating our EDI policy, practice and implementation. It was fantastic to have the space with Lara to ‘dig deep’ into our work, recognise our strengths and identify areas for development. Lara’s skill and expertise in this are, as well as her wide knowledge of nationally strategies and initiatives was invaluable in helping everyone at CAN to deepen their learning and feel involved in our future plans.
Lara is a collaborative and versatile professional with an ability to see both the detail and the bigger picture. I have worked with her on many projects over the years, originally when she was advising creative companies at Business Link and later on projects seeking to develop leadership diversity, in which she has been persistent, insightful and responsive in equal measure. We developed the Re:Present and Astonish programmes with very limited resources and Lara worked hard with what we had, to create content which far outstripped what we should have been able to achieve.
She delivered added value through her own connections, making sure the participants had access to some top flight inspirational content. Lara co-ordinated work to establish a Screen Bureau for the West Midlands, researching a solid evidence base, making a successful bid to the British Film Institute and keeping a fledgling partnership of sector interests engaged, balancing a variety of interests well. Lara works with flair and humour, which is a refreshing combination!
Head of Sport, Culture & Destination Services
Coventry City Council
Lara has her ear to the ground, finger on the pulse and eye to the detail. She can be relied upon to respond promptly and thoughtfully to questions and queries. Her honesty, warmth and energy bring a ‘can do’ vibe to any room. Helpfully she also lives in the real world.
She was a stalwart on our board for years and we’ll always be grateful.
I have worked with Lara for some 15 years and employed her on a number of occasions as a consultant. Her knowledge across the creative industries is substantial. Her energy and commitment to get things done have brought huge value to our projects. She is innovative in the way she approaches a challenge and uses a very wide and varied contact list to huge effect. Her creative approach to engagement, results in events that have huge impact. I have found her to be very generous in what she gives and always grateful for the value she adds.
Director, Innovation Enterprise and Employability
Birmingham City University
Lara Ratnaraja is a brilliant producer, facilitator, mentor and all round creative brain, who has helped MAC pioneer ‘Girls that Geek’ our dedicated programme of bringing together technology and teen women in a safe and inspirational space. It is a hugely popular programme, attributed largely to Lara’s ability to ensure everyone taking part be they, speakers, artists or audience members feel a sense of equality, camaraderie and empowerment.
Chief Executive & Artistic Director
Midlands Arts Centre