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Sam Olsen

Director of Workplace Transformation


Contact info

Sam Olsen, director of Workplace Transformation in DWP. Her ambition is to support colleagues to thrive and excel in a landscape where the positive tangible impacts of services help citizens. People focussed on her core, she has led teams in commercial settings at Virgin Atlantic, from Hong Kong to Africa. As well as policy work at No10, then onto the Department for Education.

 With diverse experience across private and public sectors, Sam has just returned from a two-year secondment from the Civil Service to act as Chief Executive Officer for the charity Movement to Work. Movement to Work (MtW) is a coalition of UK employers, youth-outreach organisations, training providers and government allies – all aiming to level the playing field for young age people aged 16-30 facing barriers to work by creating quality work experience opportunities for thousands of young people every year.

Sam is an experienced Whitehall senior civil servant holding recent posts in The Department for Education, such as Director of Children’s Social Care. She chaired the department’s disability group, championing inclusion and diversity across the department. She is a Major Projects Leadership Academy (MPLA) graduate, has run two major projects as the senior responsible owner (SRO) and annually participates in an Infrastructure and Projects Authority (IPA) review.

Before joining the Civil Service, she worked for St Christophers Fellowship as Strategy Director, a children’s charity supporting vulnerable children and leading the development of new models of residential care.

The majority of her career, however, has been in the commercial sector, having spent over 10 years working with Virgin Atlantic - highlights including the start-up of Virgin Nigeria whilst living in Lagos as Regional Director for Africa and developing a multi-national sales team.

Sam is also an active volunteer with her local rugby and hockey clubs, supporting safeguarding in the sport. This all alongside being a dedicated wife and mother of two, she loves skiing, but her favourite hobby is cooking.