Almost four and a half years ago, Leadership 2025 was set up as an initiative. Together with other members of the Altair team, I was working closely with the newly formed Leadership 2025 steering group and the selected business school to co-design the leadership development programme. It was exciting to start off with a blank canvas and explore the different options. And they were endless! There was great support from the sector leadership, which was testament to the mentors that signed up.
It was clear from the onset that this initiative was going to be ambitious, with a bold vision of a housing sector that is vibrant and diverse at all levels. The steering group did not just want to have a leadership programme but rather, make an impact across the sector. This zeal and energy for making a lasting difference has fuelled its success and is why I have personally really enjoyed working with the steering group.
The steering group commissioned two research reports (in 2017 and 2019) to identify the sector’s position in terms of ethnic leadership representation, interviewing past and current leaders to understand their experiences. As well as enhancing the insights with external research into what other sectors are doing and what can be learnt from best practice. The reports included clear conclusions of what more can be done and a practical five-point action plan to help organisations make the cultural shift. To date, 23 organisations within the housing sector, also known as leadership diversity champions, have signed up to implement this five-point plan and strive to make real change. There are others who have adopted the principles or spirit of the five-point plan.
Fast forward a few years, and Leadership 2025 continues to make a difference. There is a growing alumni base, taking learnings back to their organisations and being appointed to board positions. Several members have been promoted, selected to sit on influential panels, spoken at conferences, won housing awards and written thought pieces for the media. Leadership 2025 itself was highly commended in the recent UK Housing Awards in the diversity and inclusivity pioneer category.
This trip down memory lane brings us to the present, and Leadership 2025 has achieved another significant milestone. As a registered charity, Leadership 2025 will be able to have a greater impact. Leadership 2025 has been building its brand as an independent organisation, working across the sector with stakeholders up and down the country. Being a charity will accelerate the opportunities to grow and make a difference. With an ambitious new business plan and charity status, it is an exciting future for Leadership 2025.
Altair has been fortunate and privileged to work with Leadership 2025 throughout its journey. Personally, it has been an amazing learning opportunity to help support such an important initiative in the housing sector.
Written by Consultant Mihir Shah
Click here to view the article announcing Leadership 2025 as a registered charity. With charity status, the initiative will be more widely recognised for its great work, be able to conduct more impactful research reports, collaborate with other public sector agencies and access funding from a range of diversified sources.