Leaders Plus Mentors

Each Leaders Plus candidate 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.

Leaders Plus round 6 mentors

Morenike Ajayi
Head of Finance, Tower Hamlets Community Housing & Founder of Career Nuggets

Morenike is an accountant and broadcaster who holds several roles, notably with TfL, PricewaterhouseCooper and the local authority sector. Her passion is helping people in the community to progress in their chosen careers. She is the founder of Career Nuggets, where she shares trains on career development and progression. Morenike sits on various boards, including the National Union of Students (NUS) and Hopscotch (a community organisation supporting Asian women). Finally, Morenike is a recipient of numerous awards in recognition for her work in the Black community.

Mark Baigent
Interim Divisional Director – Housing & Regeneration, LB Tower Hamlets

Mark is an independent consultant, who has worked in UK public housing and regeneration for 25 years (15 years at senior level). His focus is on resident involvement, promoting equality and diversity, piloting new delivery models and partnership working. He supports local authority clients to deliver estate renewal and town centre regeneration. Mark has experience in leading major housing investment strategies and programmes, including stock improvement and new supply. Currently he is interim Head of Strategy, Regeneration, Sustainability & Housing Options at LB Tower Hamlets.

Andrea Baker
Director of Housing, Poplar HARCA

Andrea joined Poplar HARCA as Director of Housing in 2008. Her award-winning team delivers housing services to 9,000 households in the heart of London’s East End. She also leads on a Corporate Services portfolio including Comms, HR, Organisational Development and Strategy. Andrea has worked in housing for 25 years with LB Southwark, LB Tower Hamlets, Swan Housing Group and Richmond Housing Partnership. She is a Group Board Member of mhs homes, and Chair of Heart of Medway Housing Association. She is also a trustee of charity Neighbours in Poplar which supports older people.

Greg Campbell
Partner, Campbell Tickell

Greg has been a consultant for 19 years, and has worked directly with more than 400 organisations, tackling a range of strategic and operational matters. He has broad experience in governance, policy and strategy development, regulation and troubleshooting, risk and assurance, mergers and growth, procurement and new business, communications and PR, regeneration and community development, HR and recruitment. Organisations he has advised include housing associations, councils and council-owned companies, care providers, leisure trusts, solicitors’ firms, developers and maintenance contractors.

Heather Cheesbrough
Director of Planning & Strategic Transport, LB Croydon

Heather is a town planner and landscape architect with more than 25 years’ experience. She is currently working on bringing forward a new Westfield development in central Croydon, the redevelopment of East Croydon station and major housing delivery through suburban intensification. These projects all require close partnership working with GLA, TfL, Network Rail and the Department of Transport. Heather has extensive experience in preparing masterplans and regeneration frameworks and working in multi-disciplinary teams. At LB Hounslow, her planning team brought forward a Local Plan which was adopted within two years; the Croydon Local Plan was adopted in February 2018.

Patrick Devlin
Partner, Pollard Thomas Edwards

Patrick Devlin leads PTE’s initiatives in Third Age Housing. In 2009, he coordinated the highly influential HAPPI report – Housing our Aged Population Panel for Innovation. His current preoccupation is co-housing, an innovative form of cooperative housing well suited to older people. He writes and speaks on the subject, drawing on the latest research and on personal experience. Patrick has substantial experience in the housing, mixed-use and regeneration sectors, and has both designed and delivered a series of successful and award-winning projects, ranging from large-scale masterplans to infill sites and refurbishments. He lectures and reviews at Cardiff and Newcastle Universities.

Claudette Forbes
Director, CAF Consulting (LB Lewisham) & FoL board member

Claudette is a highly experienced urban regeneration professional, with 25 years of experience at senior level within local and regional government in London and the southeast. As Director for Regeneration at the London Development Agency, she spearheaded the agency’s £125m per annum London-wide regeneration programme. More recently, as a Director at CAF Consulting Ltd, she has developed an impressive body of work assisting local authorities and registered providers, advising on and leading their regeneration efforts.

Elly Hoult
Programme Director, Notting Hill Genesis

Working alongside NHG’s Executive team, Elly leads senior-level change, overseeing the design, planning, implementation and tracking of the companies’ merger and  bringing together both successful heritage organisations. Before this, she led on business improvement, ensuring Notting Hill Housing Trust was robust in regulatory and legislative compliance, and was responsible for resident engagement, policy & performance, and data governance & quality. With nearly 20 years in the sector, previously with Orbit and A2Dominion, she has worked in disciplines including operations, development, efficiency (Lean) and change management. Elly is a qualified coach and mediator, sits on the Leadership 2025 advisory board and is chair of the Chartered Institute of Housing board for future members.

Alexander Jan
Chief Economist &Director – Integrated City Planning, Arup

Alex is a leader of Arup’s City Economics team in London leading work on the financing and funding of transport projects as well as wider infrastructure advisory work, with a strong economic and finance component. He has worked with business improvement districts, local authorities and governments internationally on their growth and economic development strategies. Alex has written extensively on policy challenges facing world cities and London infrastructure. He is a Fellow of the UK Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport and former advisor to the Mayor of London’s infrastructure delivery board for whom Arup developed a thirty-five year infrastructure plan.

Mark Lebihan
Chief Operations Officer, Hadley Property Group

Mark joined Hadley in 2014, bringing more than 25 years of experience in the management and delivery of complex, mixed-use urban regeneration projects and high-quality design-led residential schemes, in both the UK and overseas. Mark is responsible for overseeing all operational activities at the company and has key input into all of the larger regeneration schemes in the pipeline. Mark has also led the company’s expansion and repositioning over the past 4 years.

David Lunts
Executive Director – Housing & Land,  Greater London Authority and FoL board member

David leads the Mayor of London’s housing, land and development functions. He was previously Executive Director for London at the Homes and Communities Agency and before that was GLA Executive Director with responsibility for planning, regeneration, housing and environmental policy. David’s earlier career included a leading role in housing and regeneration in Manchester in the 1980s and early ’90s and three years as director of Urban Policy for John Prescott at the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister.

Iain Painting
Senior Planning Partner, Barton Willmore

Iain joined Barton Willmore in 1996 having previously worked for the City of Westminster. Today he leads Barton Willmore’s London office, guiding a team of 24 planners, and personally provides Town Planning advice to a wide range of clients. He has delivered an array of residential, mixed-use, education, health and commercial projects and has worked closely with various public sector bodies. He currently leads on several significant schemes including Barking Riverside. Iain brings in-depth knowledge of national and regional legislation, a broad understanding of the full development process and a clear understanding of the pressures and opportunities for developers and landowners nationwide.

Lucy Taylor
Director – Regeneration & Planning, LB Ealing

Lucy has more than 20 years’ experience in regeneration, planning and development, in local authorities and with the London Development Agency. She has delivered a range of programmes for the regeneration of town centres, transport and infrastructure projects, redevelopment of council buildings and using council planning and CPO powers to enable development and economic growth. At LB Ealing she manages a busy department with more than 110 people working on planning applications and policy, regeneration and development projects and a range of initiatives to support local people find jobs and local businesses to grow. A lot of Lucy’s time is spent working with developers, landowners and other stakeholders who are critical in place-making.

Robert Van-Loo
Strategic Management Consultant, Edlex Limited

Robert is a Chartered Building Surveyor and Chartered Construction Manager with a career that has spanned 45 years. He has worked in several organisations in senior strategic management and tactical delivery roles, moving between the private and public sectors. He has seen many changes over the years, and this eclectic background gives him a unique understanding of the different working cultures across the construction industry. Robert has held senior roles with four London boroughs, became a Partner of EC Harris in 2006 and Strategic Pursuits Director of Arcadis in 2011. Currently, he is a Strategic Management Consultant, working with JLL as Public Sector Accelerator and helping them to deliver public sector services. He is passionate about supporting people to achieve their ambitions and always finds time for the many mentees he has nurtured over the years.

Kim Vernau
Chief Executive Officer, BLP Insurance

Kim joined Thomas Miller P & I in 1986, having completed her qualification as a Barrister, and became Group Internal Auditor in 2002. She worked for Thomas Miller Investment from 2005 prior to joining Building LifePlans Ltd as Chief Operating Officer in 2008 and becoming CEO in 2012. Kim has just been appointed Managing Director of the Thomas Miller Insurance Division that encompasses incorporates BLP, Thomas Miller Specialty, Captive Management, OPDU, ATE/Litigation funding and Hanseatic. Kim is also a non-executive director Womens’ Pioneer Housing, a small Housing Association which provides housing for working women of moderate means. Kim also sits on the Inspiring Women Committee for Coram, the adoption charity which is a fund-raising committee.

Tony Westbrook
Head of Development, London Legacy Development Corporation

Tony is responsible for delivering the major housing and mixed use developments on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, which are due to deliver some 6,000 homes over the next 10 years. A third of the homes in the next phase will be PRS units. Previously he was Head of Regeneration at Re and LB Barnet, responsible for estate regeneration and Brent Cross Cricklewood. Before that he was with Westfield, and his earlier career was with the shopping centre industry as a developer, property manager and management consultant.

Joanne Woodward
Chief Planning & Economic Development Officer, LB Hammersmith & Fulham

Joanne has more than 25 years’ experience as a town planner in the public sector, having previously worked for LB Enfield. She has particular experience in strategic planning at the borough and regional level and in the production of Local Plans, facilitating development and regeneration. She has delivered programmes including mixed-use schemes and major infrastructure projects. At LB Redbridge she leads a busy department dealing with planning applications, building control, planning policy, enforcement and infrastructure planning, supporting the delivery of an ambitious corporate housing and economic growth programme including Crossrail and the Ilford Housing Zone.