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 8 – Mentors

Ria Bailes
Group Director of People & Change, One Housing

Ria has worked in social housing for 12 years with experience of change programmes and organisational redesign.  She now leads the HR, corporate communications and resident engagement teams as well as the One Housing Foundation. The Foundation provides employment, training and youth activities for One Housing’s residents. Ria set up One Housing’s Academy which is focused on apprenticeships and bringing resident and staff training together. She is passionate about improving gender equality and supporting people to be their best and hopes that the experience she has in this area will help others wanting to progress their careers.

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 Communications, HR, Organisational Development and Strategy. Andrea has worked in housing for 25 years with LB Southwark and 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 the past 20 years and has worked directly with more than 450 organisations, tackling a variety of strategic and operational matters. He has broad experience in areas such as governance, policy and strategy development, regulation, risk management, growth and new business, PR and marketing, regeneration and community development, HR and recruitment. Organisations for which he has advised on new business development have included housing associations, ALMOs and council owned companies, care and support providers, leisure services providers, charities, housebuilders and developers, property investors, maintenance contractors, and solicitors’ firms.

Claudette Forbes
Director, CAF Consulting

Claudette is a highly experienced urban regeneration professional, with 25 years of experience at a 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.

Lyn Garner
Chief Executive, LLDC

Lyn’s career in Local Government has spanned finance, housing and regeneration. She spent 9 years at LB Hammersmith & Fulham leading the transformation of homelessness services before moving into regeneration to build the development and estate renewal aspects of the council’s Local Plan. Lyn reinforced the borough’s regeneration strategy and delivery functions and brought forward early proposals related to Earls Court, White City and Old Oak Common before moving on to do a one year stint as Executive Director for Development & Environment at the GLA with responsibilities including transport, environment and sustainability. Lyn joined LB Haringey in 2011 and had responsibility for Planning, Regeneration and Capital Projects until she moved to LLDC as Chief Executive in 2018. In March 2016, Lyn was voted in as the Chair of the Board of Directors at Future of London.

Stuart Gibbons
Managing Director – London & Southern, Lovell

Stuart is an experienced construction executive with over thirty years’ experience in the construction sector, predominantly in mixed-tenure residential development and affordable housing. Originally a site engineer, Stuart progressed through site and project management to become the managing director of a regional business before becoming managing director of the Building Division. In 2010, Stuart was appointed managing director of the Partnerships Division. In November 2018, Stuart joined Lovell as Managing Director of the London and Southern region and has also been a non-executive member of a regional housing association.

Gerry Hughes
President, Avison Young Europe

Gerry has earned a reputation as a highly respected hands-on leader passionate about enhancing people’s lives through their interactions with real estate. An urban planner by training, Gerry is described by those who work with him as a skilled ringmaster who successfully translates complex visions into delivered developments, traversing multiple property lifecycle stages and political layering. In his previous role as GVA Chief Executive, Gerry led the company to be the leading real estate consultancy on complex mixed-use development and regeneration projects and steered GVA through private equity ownership back to partnership via the merger with Avison Young. Gerry is a passionate advocate for equality, diversity and inclusion and for the modernisation of the real estate and planning professions to open up opportunities to talent from all sections of society. In his current role, he is focused on building a modern, dynamic real estate advisory committed to the highest quality of service through fully understanding client requirements and sourcing the best talent to add value at every stage of the real estate life cycle. He is a leading expert witness on town planning, property development and compulsory purchase matters, and has given evidence at over 50 public inquiries.

Cllr Robert Johnson
Brent Councillor & Trustee, South Kilburn Trust

Robert is an ex-Council Director for Regeneration and sits on a number of Boards as a Non-Executive Director. He specialises in housing and regeneration and is a qualified Chartered Secretary (specialising in Local Government), and also qualified as a Chartered Member of the Institute of Housing and Institute of Management. He has worked in Central Government and three local authorities, for a few voluntary organisations and is a trustee of a local church. Robert has experience of leading multi-disciplinary teams in a matrix environment and is a successful programme manager with knowledge of industry standards. Robert has strong communication skills with particular strengths in leadership, staff management, influencing, problem solving, negotiating, and partnership working.

David Lunts
Chief Executive, OPDC

At OPDC, David is overseeing the evolution of the regeneration strategy and the team in light of 2019 planning and funding challenges. In his housing role, David leads Mayor’s housing, land and development functions. Prior to that, he was HCA Executive Director for London, and GLA Executive Director for Policy & Partnerships, responsible for planning, regeneration, environmental and social policy. Before joining the GLA in 2005, he was Director of Urban Policy at the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. David began his housing and regeneration career in Manchester, including leading the City Challenge renewal of Hulme in the early 1990s. He moved to London in 1996 to run the not-for-profit Urban Villages Forum; was founding chief executive of the Prince’s Foundation in 1998; served on Lord Rogers’ Urban Task Force; and from 2011-2016, was Chair of Future of London, where he is still a board director and frequent mentor. David is also a trustee of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

Jackie Odunoye
Operational Director of Housing, LB Redbridge

Jackie is a qualified CIPFA accountant and spent 16 years working in local authority finance before becoming a Director at Tower Hamlets Housing Action Trust, working for ten years on a major housing regeneration programme, delivering a complex finance deal and completing the programme on budget and a year ahead of schedule. Returning to local government, she has led major housing regeneration schemes and joint ventures with private sector partners, developed an ambitious housing strategy for an inner London authority and championed the development of closely aligned housing, planning and regeneration services. Jackie joined LB Redbridge in 2016, developed a new housing strategy and is now implementing plans to increase housing supply and reduce the unacceptably high numbers of families in temporary accommodation as well as working on the regeneration of Ilford town centre.

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.

Eleanor Purser
Co-Strategic Director Sustainable Growth & Opportunity, LB Lambeth

Eleanor is currently Co-Strategic Director for Sustainable Growth and Regeneration at LB Lambeth, having joined in September 2019. The role oversees the economic, social and physical development of the borough alongside clienting Homes for Lambeth, the borough’s fully owned housing delivery company which has a delivery programme of 4500 homes over the next 15 years funded by a £150m loan facility from the Council. Prior to this, she was Director of Regeneration at Notting Hill Genesis, one of London’s largest RSLs. She led the regeneration of the Aylesbury Estate in LB Southwark; a £1.6bn 20 year project working in partnership with LB Southwark to achieve a successful CPO and procure the start on site for 1000 homes, a library, health centre and new public square. She has a background in public sector development having worked previously the GLA/HCA leading on housing and land investment for South London and for LB Sutton.

Kim Vernau
Non-Executive Director, Women’s Pioneer Housing

Kim joined Thomas Miller P&I in 1986, having completed her qualification as a barrister. She became the group’s internal auditor in 2002 and worked for Thomas Miller Investment from 2005 until joining Building Life Plans 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 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.

Neil Vokes
Director of Development, LB Camden

Neil started out his career as a graduate for the Hackney-based consultancy Renaisi. There he got the opportunity to work on the Woodberry Down estate. The experiences there shaped his future career path with a focus on development and regeneration. Working with colleagues at LB Enfield he brought forward regeneration schemes at Ladderswood and New Avenue before moving to LB Lambeth where he helped to set up Homes for Lambeth. Neil is now at LB Camden as the Director of Development and is responsible for the delivery of the Community Investment Programme; an in-house development programme that will complete its 1000th new home by the end of this year.

Ed Watson
Director, Ed Watson & Associates

Ed runs his own strategic planning and place consultancy EW&A having previously been a senior leader in Local Government. He works with a range of public and private sector clients including Arup, British Land and Be First. He is a Non Exec Director of a small architectural practice. At Westminster City Council he led the West End Partnership (WEP) as well as being the Executive Director for Growth, Planning and Housing. From 2009 to 2015 Ed was at LB Camden leading the Environment, Planning and Regeneration Directorates, where he led on Kings Cross, HS2 and the Council’s own development programme – the Community Investment Programme.

Darren Wisher
Managing Director, Hatch Regeneris

Over the past 25 years Darren has led major economic development consultancy assignments spanning evaluation, policy and strategy advice, economic appraisal and economic impact analysis. Darren entered economic consultancy direct from university and worked for both DTZ and SQW prior to joining Regeneris Consulting in 2001, when the company was set up. Darren led the integration of Regeneris Consulting with the global Urban Solutions team at Hatch. For the past 5 years of his consultancy career, Darren has focused primarily on economics for the land and property sector – where he provides economic impact, strategy, housing need and employment land advice to a range of public and private sector clients. He also helps secure planning consent and public funding for a range of major development schemes.

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

Joanne has more than 25 years’ experience as a town planner in the public sector, having previously worked for LB Enfield and LB Redbridge. She has particular experience in strategic planning at 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 led 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.

Follow this link to see the mentors for Future of Greater Manchester’s Leaders Plus Round 1.