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 7 mentors

Mark Baigent
Independent Consultant – Mark Baigent Consulting

Mark is an independent consultant who has worked in the UK public housing and regeneration sector for 25 years; 15 of which at senior level. Until recently, Mark was interim divisional director for LB Tower Hamlets with focusses 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, which includes stock improvement and new supply.

Ken Baikie
Interim Director of Regeneration, Notting Hill Genesis

Ken is a planner and has over 30 years’ experience of working in London for a variety of east London councils on planning and transport matters. For the last 20 years, Ken has spent much of his time working on some of London’s most interesting regeneration projects, including Thamesmead for Peabody Trust, Barking Riverside for both the council and English Partnerships/HCA, and latterly on estate regeneration projects for Notting Hill Genesis (NHG). He has recently undertaken a new role as interim director of regeneration – Aylesbury Estate for NHG and has mentored individuals in several of his workplaces.

Paul Beckett
Policy & Performance Director, City of London

Paul has worked for the City of London Corporation for over 25 years. He was responsible for preparing the City of London Local Plan and setting out a strategy for growth until 2026, which was adopted in January 2015. He has also worked extensively with officers at the GLA and its forerunner, the LPAC, on diverse strategic planning matters including London’s Central Activities Zone, office policy, tall building and view protection policy as well as Crossrail funding policy.

Greg Campbell
Partner, Campbell Tickell

Having been a consultant for the past 20 years, Greg 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 he has advised on new business development have included housing associations, ALMOs and council-owned companies, care and support providers, leisure service providers, charities, housebuilders and developers, property investors, maintenance contractors, and solicitors’ firms.

Sarah Cary
Executive Director – Place, LB Enfield

Sarah leads services that are central to Enfield residents’ quality of life, such as waste collection, council housing, street cleaning, property management, and planning. She is also responsible for Enfield’s longer-term development plans; the team is well underway with four major regeneration programmes as well as Meridian Water, which aims to bring 10,000 new homes and thousands of jobs to the borough. Sarah has a PhD in Town Planning and was previously at British Land, where she worked in the development team on major projects such as Regents Place, The Leadenhall Building, Canada Water, and Glasgow Fort before becoming head of sustainable places.

Linda Convery
Partner, TLT

Linda has 30 years’ experience of advising the social housing sector. She specialises in the development of new affordable housing as standalone projects or as part of mixed-use schemes. She deals with a range of issues including the negotiation of complex development agreements, conditional contracts, the setting up of joint venture vehicles, planning agreements, shared ownership leases and service charges. Linda has also been involved in the development and management of Extracare housing and supported housing. Linda has supervised several trainee solicitors and is independently recognised as an expert in the field of social housing by Chambers UK and Legal 500.

Richard Cook
Group Director of Development, Clarion

Richard joined Clarion in early 2019 and has responsibility for their affordable and private housing development programme across England. Prior to that, Richard oversaw a portfolio of projects in London and across the UK for Lendlease. He has previously been responsible for design and build contracts at the Athletes’ Village, where his team oversaw the delivery of c.£400m in projects across the residential, education and healthcare sectors as part of London 2012. Richard was also projects director for MACE International in the Middle East and Eastern Europe, responsible for major residential and retail projects, notably Dubai’s 96-storey Burj Al Fattan.

Kate Dodsworth
CEO, Gateway Housing

Kate started her career in homelessness and mental health over 25 years ago. After completing an MA in Housing, she moved to the National Housing Federation where she became assistant director; leading on policy and lobbying for affordable housing in London and the South East. She moved to AmicusHorizon in 2013 as executive director of people and strategy, and she continued this role for Optivo following the merger in May 2017. She became CEO of Gateway Housing Association in April 2018. Kate is an external examiner for Westminster University and sits on the Steering Group for Leadership 2025.

Matthew Essex
Operational Director of Regeneration, Property & Planning, LB Redbridge

Matthew has worked in regeneration, project management and property for 20 years in a variety of roles across local government, the not-for-profit sector and development corporations. Matthew is an experienced mentor and a regular contributor at conferences and roundtables on local authority-led housing companies, mixed-use developments and placemaking. As operational director for regeneration, property and planning at LB Redbridge, Matthew is responsible for leveraging the value of the council’s significant landholdings. This is in order to drive an ambitious development programme which seeks to rapidly increase the supply of new public and private housing after years of slow/non-existent growth.

Robert Evans
Partner, Argent

Robert joined Argent Group PLC in 2001 and became a founding partner of Argent (Property Development) Services LLP in 2012. Robert has overall responsibility for Argent’s residential projects, oversees communications and public affairs, and is one of the partners charged with securing development opportunities. Robert has led the planning work at King’s Cross since 2001 and sits on the King’s Cross Central Limited Partnership Board. Robert is a RICS Fellow, has been a committee member for Joint Planning Law Conference, BPF Development Committee and Tottenham Landowners and Major Businesses Group. Before joining Argent, Robert worked in planning and environmental consultancy and infrastructure projects in the UK, Canada & Norway.

Sue Foster
Executive Director of Planning & Borough Development, RB Kensington & Chelsea

Sue is currently RB Kensington & Chelsea’s interim director of planning and place, having previously been strategic director – neighbourhoods and growth at LB Lambeth. Whilst at Lambeth, Sue’s portfolio included housing management services for 32,000 homes, homelessness prevention and temporary accommodation. She also helped establish a delivery vehicle (Homes for Lambeth) to build and manage new housing and infrastructure and deliver the Lambeth Capital Programme (300m). In addition, Sue was responsible for environmental services and an extensive investment and growth portfolio including planning and economic development.

Jeremy Grint
Chair of Barking Riverside Steering Group, Barking Riverside Ltd

Jeremy has over 40 years’ experience of working in planning and regeneration in a local government context. Between 2006 and 2016 he was divisional director of regeneration and planning at LB Barking and Dagenham, through a period of three different leaders of the council and five different chief executives. He has experience of leading local plan making, leading the implementation of a significant mixed use development to completion and of leading the development of over 1000 council owned affordable homes. He currently chairs the Barking Riverside Steering Group, which includes Barking Riverside Ltd, TfL and LBBD and oversees the future planning of Barking Riverside, a 11000-home settlement on the River Thames.

David Joyce
Director of Regeneration & Planning, LB Camden

As Camden’s director of regeneration and planning, David is working in partnership with local communities, businesses and developers to deliver economic growth and ensure that Camden continues to be a great place for everyone. Central to this are Camden’s efforts to build on the success of King’s Cross through ensuring that the redevelopment of Euston creates a new central London destination which delivers jobs, homes and a truly connected community. As well as planning and regeneration functions, David oversees transport planning and environmental sustainability in Camden and is leading the borough’s efforts to contribute to the Healthy Streets agenda, including overseeing the implementation of the West End Project.

John Lumley
Strategic Director – Assets & Regeneration, L&Q

John is responsible for asset management and regeneration across the L&Q group. Prior to joining L&Q he was director of regeneration at LB Hackney, responsible for creating and leading one of the largest direct delivery programmes of council housebuilding in the country, as well as housing strategy & policy, economic regeneration, and private-sector housing. Prior to his current role, John worked at L&Q in a variety of development and regeneration roles for ten years. He is a board member of Future of London, a trustee of the New Cross Gate Trust, and a school governor.

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

Having qualified as a barrister, Kim joined Thomas Miller P&I in 1986. 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, becoming CEO in 2012. Kim was managing director of the Thomas Miller Insurance Division that encompassed BLP, Thomas Miller Specialty, Captive Management, OPDU, ATE/Litigation Funding and Hanseatic. Kim is also non-executive director for Women’s Pioneer Housing, a small housing association providing housing for working women of moderate means. Kim also sits on the Inspiring Women Committee for Coram adoption charity, which is a fund-raising committee.

Sara Waller
Co-Strategic Director Sustainable Growth & Opportunity, LB Lambeth

Sara is a chartered surveyor with over 20 years’ experience across the public and private sectors. She was head of regeneration south for LB Southwark, responsible for the Aylesbury Estate Regeneration Programme, the revitalisation of Peckham and building 15 secondary schools; and an executive director of Cornerstone Property Assets, where she led large mixed use land promotion projects and acted as an advisor for many local authorities. She is now co-strategic director of sustainable growth and opportunity for LB Lambeth and has acted as both a formal and informal mentor previously, and is a trained RICS mediator.