- 2005-2013 Chief Executive, Action for Children
- 1997–2004 Chief Executive, Stonham Housing Association
- 1992–1997 Chief Executive, Phoenix House Housing Association (now known as Phoenix Futures)
- 1989–1992 Director, Riverpoint Single Homeless
- 1986–1989 Deputy Director, Centrepoint (charity) Soho
- 1982–1984 Assistant Warden, Avon Probation Service
As Chief Executive of Hanover Housing Association  as from January 2014, Clare Tickell is responsible for one of the UK's leading providers of affordable housing and services for the over-55s, with a reputation for quality and innovation. Founded in 1963, Hanover manages approximately 19,000 extra care and retirement properties in over 600 locations, offering a wide variety of choice to meet different individual needs and local demands.
Prior to joining Hanover, Tickell was Chief Executive of Action for Children, one of the UK's largest and most important charities. Here she was able to influence the development of policies that affect the lives of the most vulnerable and neglected children, young people and their families and communities across the UK. In July 2010, it was announced that Tickell would be conducting a review for the UK Government in the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework which sets learning and welfare standards for the under fives. The Review was published in 2011 and its recommendations implemented in 2012.
- Chair of the Board, Early Intervention Foundation, a charity and one of the Government's What Works centres
- Board of the Guinness Trust (to March 2014)
- Chair, CVLS Honours Committee
- Fellow, RSA
- October 2011 - October 2013 Chair, Help the Hospices Independent Commission into the Future of Hospice Care
- February 2009 - July 2010 Member of the Commission on 2020 Public Services sponsored by the RSA
- 2004 - 2009 Member of the Howard League Commission on English Prisons
- 2007 - April 2010 Member of the Management Board – Information Commission the Commission with responsibility for the Data Protection Act and Freedom of Information Act.
- Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in the 2010 New Year Honours for services to young people.
- Fellow of the City and Guilds Institute
- Honorary Doctorate of Laws, University of Bristol
She grew up and lives in west London with her husband; the couple have two sons.
- "Weekend birthdays", The Guardian, 24 May 2014, p. 58
- Third Sector. "Most Admired Chief Executive: Clare Tickell, winner". Retrieved July 15, 2010.
- BBC News (6 July 2010). "'Toddler targets' guidance to be reviewed". Retrieved 16 July 2010.