Future London Leaders Mentors

Each Future London Leader is paired with a senior mentor from Future of London’s extensive cross-sector network. These mentors provide a ‘safe space’ sounding board for candidates, as well as invaluable experience and insights from their own careers. See here for more about mentoring.

Future London Leaders Round 22 Mentors

Anne Byrne
Head of Regeneration, LB Hackney

A highly experienced public sector professional, Anne has worked in the housing and regeneration field for more than 25 years. She has held a number of senior roles in local government, which has provided her with a breadth of understanding and perspective on the challenges and opportunities of working within the public sector. Hackney council’s estate regeneration programme is one of the largest in the country and the Woodberry Down scheme on which Anne leads is a major project that will deliver more than 5,500 new homes. Anne was on the enabling panel for the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE) and has recently been appointed by the Design Council as a building environment expert.

Virginia Blackman
Principal – National Head Site Assembly & Compulsory Purchase, Avison Young

Virginia’s particular interest is in getting involved from the start of the project through to delivery, ensuring site assembly is integrated with the commercial, planning and wider project process and team, and communication and engagement with the local community. She is a regular speaker for the Compulsory Purchase Association, Waterfront Conferences and Westminster Briefings. Recent projects include five garden communities, West Hendon Estate Regeneration, Vicarage Fields Barking, High Road West, Calverley Square Tunbridge Wells and advising a number of those affected by HS2 at Euston. She is a member of the RICS Working Group on Compulsory Purchaser, an experienced expert witness, and a Registered Valuer. Virginia has worked with Future of London Diversity Speaker Network and has experience of mentoring colleagues previously.

Tom Cardis
Director of Planning (Interim), Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation

Tom is a qualified town planner with over 15 years of experience working across a number of public sector bodies on large-scale regeneration projects. Tom has worked previously at the Greater London Authority, LB Hammersmith and Fulham and RB Kensington and Chelsea, where he worked on other large-scale regeneration projects such as White City and Earl’s Court. In 2014 Tom took on the role of establishing London’s second Development Corporation at Old Oak and Park Royal (OPDC). Initially as head of planning policy and now as interim director of planning, Tom has been instrumental in positioning Old Oak Park Royal as one of the UK’s largest mixed-use development opportunities with the potential to deliver 25,500 new homes and 65,000 new jobs.

Esther Everett
Design Principal, London Legacy Development Corporation

Esther is a qualified architect with many years in the private sector. With experience in education and community architecture, urban design, regeneration and public realm, she joined the public sector in 2010 in Design for London’s Lower Lea Valley team. She has since worked for the London Legacy Development Corporation leading on major projects, masterplans and regeneration programmes in and around Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Her current role involves coordinating programmes with partner organisations and providing design advice to planning colleagues on major live LLDC applications. Esther is also creative director for the 2015 RIBA Guerrilla Tactics conference, which sets up dialogue between small architecture practices and commissioning bodies across the public and private sectors.

Jenna Goldberg
Director, London Communications Agency

As well as advising clients on PR and communications, Jenna heads LCA’s dedicated research team, helping to ensure the specialist agency and its clients are one step ahead when it comes to local, regional and national politics and London news and issues. Since joining LCA in 2008 she has worked on major NHS reconfigurations as well as some of the biggest regeneration projects in Europe, helping clients to communicate change and engage with the public. Jenna also edits LCA’s award-winning monthly news magazine LDN.

Abdul Khan
Head of Sustainability, LB Tower Hamlets

Abdul has a background in engineering, specialising in sustainability and energy management. His background is in the public sector, starting at LB Tower Hamlets in 2005 working on fuel poverty. Abdul has the strategic responsibility for the council’s environmental sustainability agenda, managing an expanding portfolio of services including, fuel poverty, energy policy, climate change, carbon reduction, energy procurement, air quality, sustainability and biodiversity. Abdul provides sustainability advice on regeneration and redevelopment schemes and leads on the development of environmental policy for planning.

David Leeves
Director of Operations – Social Mobility, One Housing

David has a wealth of senior leadership and management experience within the housing sector and has management to strategic leadership, working with executive & board member level decision making, a passion for raising service standards, enabling personal development and creating high performing teams. He is director of social mobility with a London based housing association and has mentored on two of their graduate programmes. He has successfully led teams working in housing, regeneration and community development with HA’s and local authorities. He leads and inspires senior teams to deliver impressive results and creates innovative solutions from the front line team.

Sean McLaughlin
Director, Homes for Haringey 

Sean started his career in Camden and Haringey Councils. His key interests were improving access to housing (especially for disabled people and BME communities), improving services for women and children experiencing domestic violence, raising temporary accommodation standards, creating a new relationship with private landlords and tackling rough sleeping. At Islington he set up the housing advice and homelessness services, which gained national recognition. He represented the council in establishing and supporting the ALMO, Homes for Islington, and brought its services back in-house following the successful completion of its decent homes programme. He is policy lead for learning disabilities for the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services and chairs the London Transforming Care Steering Group, co-ordinating activity to move people with learning disabilities out of hospitals and into the community.

Eleanor Purser
Director of Regeneration, Notting Hill Genesis

Eleanor leads the regeneration of the Aylesbury Estate in LB Southwark; a £1.6bn project which will deliver nearly 4000 homes and NHG’s in-house construction apprenticeship and training department. Prior to NHG, Eleanor was responsible for “Opportunity Sutton”, an integrated economic growth strategy and enabling service at LB Sutton – including strategic planning and development management. This transformational agenda levered over £300m into the borough and included promotion of regionally significant projects including an extension of Tramlink and the development of a life-sciences cluster. She has a background in public sector development and housing, having worked previously the GLA/HCA leading on housing and land investment for South London.

Juliet Seymour
Planning Policy Manager, LB Southwark

Juliet worked at LB Harrow for 5 years where she gained a perspective on consultation, working in an outer London borough and working in a complex and challenging political environment. She led on many London and European projects. Following this, she worked for LB Southwark in a similar role before moving to the Planning Policy Team. Juliet is one of the Planning Division management team leading on digital change, a Graduate Development Programme, a Planner Development Programme and the Development Plan. She has mentored staff for over a decade as part of the LB Southwark mentor programme.

Allison Sofekun
Executive Director (Interim), SC Consultants/BCL

Allison is a senior level executive with a strong track record in strategic leadership of people, change, financial and operational management with over 30 years’ experience. As an experienced interim consultant, Allison harnesses her significant experience from various senior roles and sectors. Allison led the Corporate Services at Gateway Housing, including HR & Organisation development and communications. She has extensive experience developing potential including mentoring and coaching. Trained and qualified as a chartered accountant with KPMG, with extensive audit and consulting experience, Allison has further expanded her areas of expertise, now a Chartered Fellow with the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (CIPD). Allison’s experience is varied encompassing the private and third sectors as well as UK and international experience. Allison led the achievement of the ‘Times Top 50 Employers for Women’ at Genesis and is an individual national award winner, (Excellence in Practice – BITC), championing balanced leadership teams for superior business performance.

Karen Swift
Head of Supply, Initiatives and Partnerships, LB Camden

Karen has worked in local government for over 25 years with secondments out to the Home Office and Metropolitan Police. Her local government career started in Camden, where she is currently employed. During her career she has overseen initiatives and services related to homelessness, housing options, regeneration, private sector conditions, supported housing as well as being head of housing strategy at Camden for 10 years. Her current role sees her overseeing the Council’s housing company, overseeing an £11M homelessness commissioning budget and implementation of a borough wide licensing scheme to improve conditions in 8,000 private sector homes. Karen has an MSc in International Housing from the London School of Economics. She has a strong record of innovation and seeking creative solutions.

Elaine Taylor
Land, Acquisitions and Planning Director, L&Q

Elaine specialises in residential development and regeneration working in the not-for-profit sector in London and the South East. She started her housing career with L&Q delivering new build and refurbishment projects over 30 years ago. Following a succession of career progressions, both internally at L&Q and externally with other major housing associations, she now holds a senior management position and is responsible for leading the Land and Planning team in L&Q’s East Region, contributing towards the delivery of the Group’s growth ambition.

Sharon Strutt
Head of Regeneration, LB Redbridge

Sharon has a wealth of experience in regeneration, having worked as a head of service in two London authorities with responsibilities for developing and delivering major regeneration initiatives.  These have included large-scale brownfield regeneration and major infrastructure developments, in addition to a number of town centre regeneration programmes. As head of regeneration for LB Redbridge, Sharon is developing the borough’s regeneration strategy, which will encourage enterprise, strengthen the borough’s town centres and employment hubs, and improve pathways into employment for the borough’s residents. She is leading the regeneration of Ilford, working alongside the GLA to deliver its Housing Zone programme, and establishing partnerships with landowners, developers, businesses and residents to shape future regeneration activity.

Jonathan Wade
Head of Spatial Planning, RB Kensington & Chelsea

Jonathan is an RTPI accredited urban planner with over 25 years’ professional experience of working within the public sector in the UK. His experience covers the whole breadth of the planning field, with management positions both within development management and planning policy, most of which is within the London context. Jonathan is adaptable and flexible and is used to working over a variety of disciplines from writing planning policy, to project management as well as assessing major planning applications with the accompanying negotiation skills. In Jonathan’s current role he has driven forward a number of high-profile strategic projects which were priorities on the corporate agenda.

Angela Wood
Development Director, Peabody

Angela has worked for housing associations for over 20 years, and before that in the private sector, having started in a junior role and worked her way up. During this time, Angela has managed a wide variety of teams – some small, some large. She has taken pride in staff achieving success and moving into more senior roles, both within and outside of the organisation. She believes that her experience will be of value to someone hoping to move into a leadership role. She sits on the organisation’s Operational Management Team and department’s Senior Management Team.