Alex Barker is a speaker, facilitator, writer, and community builder, and Pirate. Working alongside author and entrepreneur Sam Conniff, Alex leads their global Be More Pirate network.
Using the most interesting and inspiring stories from the community, Alex helps organisations to think differently, change their culture, and challenge the way things are usually done.
Alex studied literature at King’s College London, followed by an MA in International Relations where she focused on Middle East politics. After a six-month stint backpacking around the region, she took a job in international development, moved briefly into social care before spending seven years at Royal Society of Arts (RSA) as communications manager.
Then, after almost a decade in the charity sector, Alex hit a wall. After feeling that leaders and
decision makers were increasingly disconnected from the problems they were trying to solve, and that people were becoming more disengaged at a moment in time when we desperately needed active citizenship, she took some time out to think about what she could do to contribute. Alex briefly for two wonderful authors; Onjali Q. Rauf and Alastair Humphreys, before teaming up with Sam Conniff in January 2019.
In September 2020 Alex and Sam’s new book How to: Be More Pirate was published – an update on the original which dives much deeper into how to effectively rewrite & rewrite ‘the rules’.
Be More Pirate – from book to movement
The Golden Age Pirates rewrote the rules of their day with some surprisingly sophisticated strategies. Now, hundreds of individuals and organisations around the world have begun to follow their lead by forming crews, writing their own pirate codes and taking some calculated risks. All the key insights from their network of modern pirates are captured in the new book How to: be More Pirate, which can be delivered both as a talk or a workshop.
Professional Rule Breaking
The stats say that around 85% of people are disengaged at work, and after a decade of sitting through one too many post-it filled meetings, Alex is convinced that we won’t see a real shift until we all start breaking some of the day to day rules. Drawn from everything she has seen and heard in their workshops to date, along with some interesting research on why disobedience gets better outcomes, professional rule breaking makes for a practical and provocative session.
"We had the pleasure of Alex presenting to 100+ people on the hottest day of the year and she was brilliant. Alex is a fantastic speaker, she is engaging, professional and funny. Her knowledge and passion came across loud and clear and the audience absolutely loved the presentation. It was one of the best events I have done and I would welcome her back any time."
— Barry Verdin, Business Change Specialist, The Open University
"Alex gave an excellent online talk for the Change Management Institute, she really brought the subject matter to life and I've now made it a personal goal to adopt some of what I learnt. We had a great turnout, several more colleagues requested the recording and a CMI board member has since suggested she present at one of our leadership events"
— Mike Mactavish, The Change Management Institute
"Alex was a fantastic facilitator, guiding us through a high energy and thoroughly inspiring team session. Be more pirate has really challenged us to think differently and continues to shape how we operate as a team."
— Louise Stevens, Head of Circular Economy, innocent drinks