James Heappey

Fee Band

After eight years serving in the Army, including tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, James entered the world of politics but continued his connection to the military. Travelling the world, and in particular the ‘Global South’, he took a lead on defence diplomacy. With insights into the key conflicts as well as the political, economic and commercial risks of confrontations around the globe, he considers how to factor in the inevitability of these risks in a complex, multi-polar world.


James Heappey was Minister of State for the Armed Forces, giving him oversight of conventional and cyber operations and deployment. In almost a decade in Parliament he held a number of roles, before which he served for eight years in the British Army, rising to the rank of Major. Crossing the political and military spheres, he has a rare insight into the interplay of policy, international relations, and the role of diplomacy and conflict in modern geopolitics.

After university and Sandhurst, James joined the Army as an officer, serving around the world including tours in Afghanistan and Iraq. He returned to the UK seconded to the Ministry of Defence and working as an executive officer on the General Staff. After leaving the Army he entered the world of politics as MP for Wells. Following a spell as Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Prime Minister he returned to his military roots with posts as Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Defence Procurement and as Armed Forces Minister. In addition, he served on the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee, chaired the Parliamentary Renewable and Sustainable Energy Group, and as the ‘MP for Glastonbury’, served on the select committee for the live events industry.

James’s ministerial roles saw him take a lead in defence diplomacy, visiting over 80 countries, with a particular focus on the ‘Global South’. He explores the forces that shape domestic and foreign policy, and the nature and context of both existing conflicts and nascent confrontations. Beyond current areas of tension, he also considers a wider perspective, looking at how to concentrate less on specific trouble spots and more on what businesses and organisations can do to factor in the inevitability of disruption, even if you don’t know from where it might come. He also provides a revealing insight into supplying defence technologies to Ukraine. How processes and systems that are usually measured in years (or even decades) were reviewed and changed into more agile, iterative processes that responded in a matter of weeks. The pressure to adapt at speed holds lessons for many established, hierarchical organisations seeking to respond to a constantly changing environment and priorities.


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JLA Presents

Event - 30/04/2024 - 9:00 am

Speakers Breakfast

Understanding AI Now

Priya Lakhani and Anne-Marie Imafidon

We were joined at 87 Barts Close by three brilliant speakers on a panel that delved into the complex world of Artificial Intelligence. Over the hour our panellists de-mystified AI, speaking about AI’s immense promise for enhancing our lives, alongside the apprehension it has generated regarding job security, privacy infringement, and ethical considerations.


87 Barts Close, 87 Bartholomew Close, London, EC1A 7EB


Event - 06/02/2024 - 9:00 am

Speakers Breakfast

Looking Ahead to International Women’s Day

Samira Ahmed, Eniola Aluko, Julia Gillard, and Alex Mahon

We were joined by four fantastic speakers to look ahead at International Women’s Day. With the theme of this year’s event being #InspireInclusion, we were lucky enough to hear from four women who have each blazed a trail in their respective fields: CEO of Channel 4, Alex Mahon; the former Australian Prime Minister and Chair of Kings’ Global Institute of Women’s Leadership, Julia Gillard; one of the leading voices in football, Eniola Aluko MBE; and broadcaster and journalist, Samira Ahmed.


Bishopsgate Institute, London