Kersten has been Chief Executive of Bradford Council since 2015. Kersten’s main priority is to deliver sustainable and inclusive growth. Bradford District has the youngest population in the UK and is also one of the most diverse, globally connected and entrepreneurial.
Kersten chairs the Yorkshire and Humber Chief Executive’s Board and is the lead Chief Executive for the Yorkshire Leaders Board. She leads on innovation, business growth and the digital agenda within the West Yorkshire Combined Authority. Kersten is a trustee of the Young Foundation whose mission is to develop better connected and more sustainable communities across the UK. She is also a member of the Council of the University of Bradford, a member of the advisory board of the Bradford Literature Festival and a lay canon of Bradford Cathedral.
Kersten’s career has included work in the higher education, central government (as Director of Local Government for Yorkshire and the Humber) and the voluntary sector as well as 30 years in local government. She was previously Chief Executive of the City of York for six years. She is passionate about building resilient and confident communities, supporting local democracy and sustainable urban growth.
Despite her Edinburgh accent she regards herself as a bona fide Bradfordian and Yorkshire woman, having lived and worked in Yorkshire for most of her adult life and bringing her children up in the great city of Bradford.
Kersten was made a CBE in the 2020 new year’s honours list for her services to the communities and economy of Bradford.