I’m James Laidler and I’m an internationally acclaimed journalist and communications consultant. Originally from London, I fell in love with Chicago and moved here in June 2016. I spent more than a decade at BBC News, most recently as an Executive Producer of BBC Breakfast - the UK's highest-rated morning show - winning a BAFTA Award in 2015. I’ve trained and coached journalists across the world, including at Reuters and The New York Times. I was also a member of the BBC's diversity board for five years, championing fair LGBTQ representation in the Corporation's output and employment practices.
During my tenure at the BBC, I managed several major operations and technology projects, including the biggest relocation of any broadcaster in history. Upon moving to the USA, I was headhunted to become a change management consultant, designing training plans and operational improvement approaches for several billion-dollar companies. I now blend that experience with my journalistic background to provide a holistic communications consulting service to American and European clients.
I’m a graduate of the University of Southampton (Physics, Bachelor of Science with Honors) and Bournemouth University (Multimedia Journalism, Masters), where I graduated top of my class and was awarded one of 12 BBC News scholarships.
In my free time, I perform as That British Drag Queen, volunteer as a city tour guide with Chicago Greeter, and coach children in Chicago Public Schools on literacy - with the help of dogs - through the non-profit SitStayRead. I live with my husband in Chicago’s northernmost neighborhood, Rogers Park.