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Sal Brinton

Sal Brinton

Areas of Interest


Honorary Award

Honorary Doctor of Philosophy, 2003


Sal Brinton is an award-winning businesswoman, Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for the Liberal Democrat Party, and Director of the University for Industry. Educated at Churchill College, Cambridge, she began her career as a floor manager with the BBC in the 1970s but soon moved into business where she has enjoyed success in a variety of fields. In 1997 she was named East Anglian Entrepreneurial Businesswoman of the Year. She has served as Chair of the Learning Skills Council, Cambridgeshire, Deputy Chair of the East of England Development Agency, and as a Cambridgeshire County Councillor. She has also served as Education Spokeswoman for Cambridgeshire County Council. Sal is currently the Director of the Association of Universities in the East of England. Sal is an active member of a number of local and regional bodies. Other significant roles have included Director of the St John's Innovation Centre, Founder and Chair of the Cambridge Businesswomen's Network, and Bursar of Selwyn College, Cambridge.

In 2003 Sal Brinton was made an Honorary Doctor of Philosophy.


"The Senate of Anglia Polytechnic University has great pleasure in recommending the award of an Honorary Doctor of Philosophy degree to Sarah Virginia Brinton, BA, MA, known universally as "Sal", award-winning- business woman, financial management consultant, company director, college Bursar, County Councillor, Chair of Cambridgeshire Learning & Skills Council, Deputy Chair of the East of England Development Agency, public speaker, politician... and Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Watford.

Today we honour Sal, for her dynamic leadership and commitment to the many, many tasks she undertakes in contributing to the wellbeing of the local community, through one-to-one contacts and via the plethora of committees and groups which she energizes, as well as to society at large, through her inspirational leadership and in the near future, possibly, as a Parliamentarian in Westminster? Time will tell. She is indeed a worthy role model for the young woman of today.

Sal was at school in the famous British independent Benenden School (for girls) in Cranbrook, Kent, from there she won a scholarship to the Central School of Speech and Drama in London, to learn about Stage Management. However, she damaged her back "flying" on stage and took a secretarial course whilst her back recovered. She later joined BBC Radio Three as a Production Secretary, moved to Radio Drama and was then appointed as a Stage Manager in BBC Television.

In 1981, Sal went up to Churchill College, Cambridge, as a Mature Student, to read for a BA in English Literature, and was later awarded an MA. During this time she became the first woman president of the ADC Theatre and was on the University Management Committee which "turned around" the finances of this theatre and so they have remained, sound to this day!

After her degree, Sal became Manager at New Cambridge Research Company Limited, an early stage innovative venture capital fund owned jointly by King's College, Cambridge and Newmarket Venture Capital Limited, created to "spin-out" projects from Cambridge University, with commercial potential. Over the following years, she served in a succession of executive posts in a variety of Cambridge's high-tech organizations, such as: Cambridge Venture Management Limited, Cambridge Venture Capital Limited, Syndicated Properties, Director of her own brainchild Metals Galore Limited and a Director at the renowned St John's Innovation Centre, which continues. In 1997 she elected to extend her unique experience, through taking on the challenge of five years as Bursar at Lucy Cavendish College, which she followed by five years as Bursar at Selwyn College, Cambridge University.

During these years of developing, even further, her already considerable business acumen, she co-founded and was the first Chair of the Society of East Anglian Businesswomen, which later became Cambridge Businesswomen's Network, was elected a Member of the Institute of Directors, was a finalist in the Cambridge Evening News Businesswoman of the Year, Mid-Anglia Business Awards and in 1997, won the East Anglian Entrepreneurial Businesswoman of the Year Award.

Sal has since, been appointed: Chair, Cambridgeshire Learning & Skills Council; Non-Executive Director, Loughborough University in Peterborough Limited; Judge, National Training Awards, East of England; Non-Executive Director, University for Industry (UfI, which increases employability through schemes like LearnDirect) and initially a Founding Board Member, now Deputy Chair, East of England Development Agency.

Apart from her exceptional successes in both the private and public sectors of activity, she still manages to find time for individuals, to whom she shows unstinting care and concern, possibly best demonstrated through her face-to-face work in the community as a County Councillor, good Samaritan and as a wife, mother and foster mother.

It is for these reasons, therefore, that I invite you, Vice-Chancellor, to confer on Sarah Virginia Brinton, BA, MA an Honorary Doctor of Philosophy degree of this University."