Leaders Plus candidates

Leaders Plus 9

Leaders Plus round 9 runs from November 2021 to July 2022. Profiles of the candidates are below.

Kemi Ayodele
Development Manager, Argent

Kemi has 16 years' cross-sector experience on large-scale mixed-use developments across residential, commercial and hotel schemes. Since joining Argent in 2019, she has led projects from inception at the 67-acre King’s Cross scheme. As a creative and entrepreneurial development professional, she has a passion for unlocking value from land and property through regeneration, using unique technical and hands-on experience gained in academia and industry.

Carl Blackburn
Chief Executive, South Kilburn Trust

Carl has been CEO of voluntary sector organisations from local to international scale for 15+ years. He's driven by a passion for social improvements based on community empowerment and a desire for measurable change. South Kilburn Trust is an area-based NDC legacy project making lasting improvements to a deprived area of northwest London. The Trust manages a multi-purpose building that includes affordable workspace and community services. and is expanding to better serve people in the area.

Sam Blake
Partner/ Head of Transport & Infrastructure, Montagu Evans

Sam has 17 years’ experience as a development advisor, largely to the public sector with a focus on London. He has helped clients achieve strategic aims for their assets with development potential, from housing and regeneration delivery to generating capital receipts/savings and delivering sustainable income streams. Sam has advised on high-profile development schemes across the city. He has a background in economics, is a Chartered Surveyor and has an MA in Town Planning. He is passionate about buildings, public spaces and London as a progressive city and a force for good.

Dillan Blake-Smith
Head of Housing & Community Services, Gateway Housing

Dillan is a housing professional with 10+ years working across London. With a background in finance, customer service and commercial sales, he has a diverse set of skills and a desire to deliver the best frontline services through customer empowerment. He currently leads a frontline team delivering essential services such as housing management, engagement, employment and training, and wellbeing services in Tower Hamlets, Hackney and Newham. He has also spent more than 3 years on the board of an almshouse charity in West London, supplying homes for older residents.

Sarah Coutts
Head of Design & Planning, Barking Riverside

Sarah has 15+ years’ experience across public and private sector housing, regeneration and development. Since joining BRL in 2018, Sarah progressed quickly and now heads up the team leading the design and planning of one of the UK's largest regeneration projects, creating a new neighbourhood of 10,800 homes, new schools, commercial and cultural offerings alongside 2km of Thames river frontage. Prior to BRL, Sarah worked for the GLA, leading on land disposals and housing investment across North East London.

John David
Housing Manager, YMCA St Pauls

John has 20+ years' experience in charity organisations and the private sector. His experience cuts across property management within the supported housing and care sector, marketing, community, and people-focused services. In his current role as a housing and support manager, he has experience in the accommodation and support of residents with multiple complex needs as well as property management. His passions include quality services, human capital development and a sustainable eco-future.

James Edgerley
Senior Development Manager, Argent

James is a Chartered Surveyor and development management professional with 14 years' cross-sector experience including leading on masterplanning a new mixed-use development in central London; managing large commercial and residential projects as part of King’s Cross Central ; and delivering cultural and educational projects around London and the South East. James is passionate about genuine placemaking and regeneration, and believes getting the ground plane experience and use mix right will improve the lives of people living and working nearby whilst ensuring sustainable long-term investment.

Rachel Jones
Senior Urban Designer, RB Kingston

Rachel is an architect and urban designer with 20+ years in urban design, masterplanning, regeneration, planning policy and architecture, and has worked equally in the public and private sector. Prior to working at RB Kingston, Rachel was a training manager at Urban Design London and Interim Design & Conservation Manager at LB Lewisham. She is passionate about helping shape places for people to thrive and flourish.

Verona Lynch
Head of Building Safety Projects, Guinness

Verona has worked in asset management for various housing associations and local authorities for 18+ years. This has given her broad experience in design and construction within social housing, and her priority has always been to ensure that customers were safe in their homes. Verona is very driven and has a track record of leading teams to deliver large-scale remediation and installation projects. She is able to prioritise competing demands on people and resources and manage risks in a methodical and structured way.

Benjamin Maltby
Senior Consultant, Inner Circle Consulting

Benjamin is a Chartered Civil Engineer and senior project leader, specialising in large-scale multi-disciplinary infrastructure and urban development projects, including LB Hammersmith & Fulham’s Civic Campus project. He is a qualified lecturer, wtih research and teaching experience at British universities in the UK and China. Benjamin also has expertise in sustainability, Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), emergency preparedness and response. He has led climate adaptation and DRR projects internationally on behalf of governmental and inter-governmental institutions, such as World Bank, UN and European Union.

Dominic Millen
Head of Climate Action & Sustainability, LB Enfield

Dominic is a passionate pragmatist with extensive experience of regional and local government across climate action, partnership development, performance management and sustainable transport. Scared by the impacts of climate crisis, his focus is now on addressing them by realising the opportunities for governments, organisations and individuals to act together. Currently he is making this a reality by delivering LB Enfield’s ambitious Climate Action Plan, being joint lead for the London Housing Retrofit Programme and chairing the London Technical Advisers Group Strategic Transport Forum.

Tom Morrissey
Development Director, Countryside

Tom has 15+ years’ experience in the housebuilding industry with a focus on delivering mixed-use schemes in London and the Home Counties. Tom joined Countryside in 2017 and has been instrumental in the delivery of 1,800+ homes in complex regeneration schemes. He leads on eight projects across London and the South East, with a pipeline of 8,000+ new homes, including the award-winning Rochester Riverside.

Jodie Norman
Head of Placemaking & Estates: Community, Socio-economic development, Notting Hill Genesis

Jodie leads a team providing comprehensive, professional commercial property management and development consultancy services at Notting Hill Genesis. She is responsible for strategic and operational asset management, meeting key financial targets, strategic delivery of the commercial units in the development pipeline and developing management strategies designed to increase surplus and create sustainable communities. A regeneration and placeshaping specialist, Jodie is a creative problem-solver who delivers initiatives to improve neighbourhoods. She has extensive experience leading on complex negotiation for high-value commercial deals, delivers operational excellence, and optimises process, culture and performance by driving innovation across all functions.

Joanna Parker
Principal Planning Officer, City of London

Jo is a planning professional with 20 years of development management and policy experience at RB Kensington & Chelsea, LB Camden, Westminster and the City of London. Jo’s expertise in urban design and heritage has provided opportunities to work on challenging and diverse projects including delivery of heritage, commercial, major infrastructure, and residential. Jo is versatile and operates collegiately, striving to bring innovation to projects often with a focus on culture, urban greening, design quality and social value.

Fabrizio Stefanoni
Development Manager, Lovell

Fabrizio is a construction design and development professional with 22 years’ experience working in multiple roles in Italy, Wales and England. After an initial stint designing residential projects in award-winning architectural practices, he moved to residential development in aftercare then newbuild, taking technical and development management roles for clients and contractors. Fabrizio has managed complex mixed-use projects in various capacities on 10,000+ homes. A keen advocate of sustainable living and resource conservation, he has contributed to several studies on technical change for greener living.

Warrick Thomas
Partner - Projects, Pollard Thomas Edwards

Originally from Australia, Warrick has worked in London’s architecture scene for almost 15 years with a passion for design. Starting in a small but feisty practice specialising in sustainability, he gained valuable experience across a range of scales and sectors. Since joining Pollard Thomas Edwards in 2015, he has worked on and led larger residential-led developments across London. He specialises in early design stages achieving successful planning applications for private developers and housing associations. Most recently he led the architectural team for the Barnsbury Estate ballot where residents voted overwhelming in favour of transforming their neighbourhood.

Follow this link to see the candidates for Future of Greater Manchester’s Leaders Plus Round 2.

To view profiles of candidates from previous rounds, visit our alumni page.