G15 launches new BAME leadership programme

  • 01 October 2020

The G15 launched its new leadership development programme for BAME managers yesterday (Wednesday 30 September) with a virtual event for delegates.

G15 Accelerate is a 15-18 month Chartered Management Institute (CMI) programme that aims to build a pipeline of talented people, ready to progress their careers into leadership roles. It seeks to support people of colour who have the potential to shape the future of the housing sector, creating more diverse leadership teams within the G15. Accelerate builds on the diversity pledge signed by G15 Chief Executives in March 2020, committing them to improve the ethnic diversity of their organisations, particularly at senior managerial, leadership and board levels.

Over 150 people applied for the programme, with sixty six people successfully obtaining a place. Delegates at the launch event got an overview of the programme, and heard talks from inspirational speakers Olu Olanrewaju, Associate Director at Altair and Leadership 2025, Rebecca Clarke, Head of Membership at CIH, and G15 CEOs Helen Evans from Network Homes, Geeta Nanda from Metropolitan Thames Valley and Kate Davies from Notting Hill Genesis.

Throughout the programme, Accelerate students will each attend modules on personal development, advanced leadership training and get exclusive access to thought leaders, executive sponsors and bespoke events. Each will graduate with a CMI Diploma in Strategic Leadership and Management.

Helen Evans, Chair of the G15 and Chief Executive of Network Homes, said: “London is one of most diverse cities in the world. 35% of Londoners are from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) groups. As the group of London’s largest housing associations, the G15 play a key role in delivering diverse and inclusive communities. But the leadership of the G15 is not as ethnically diverse as the communities we work in. The Accelerate programme will play an important role in addressing that imbalance.”

Geeta Nanda, Chief Executive of Metropolitan Thames Valley and Vice Chair of the G15, said: “Discrimination is real, and it is the responsibility of our housing associations to show leadership. With a wave of change occurring across London, throughout the country, and the across the world, now is the time for us to rise to the challenge. As we wish this cohort of managers well on their leadership journey, we are reminded of the cultural competence journey our organisations need to take. Everyone in the sector needs to take responsibility for driving change in their own organisations, and addressing discrimination. Thinking about, and responding to, these issues is not easy or comfortable. But what is required most of all is a commitment, and to keep going when it gets tough. The G15 Accelerate programme is a positive step in the direction of change. That change will not happen overnight, but my hope is that in partnering with this talented group of BAME managers from our organisations, we are take action towards a better future, and creating a legacy that the next generation can build on.

Sheree Hall, Head of Homeowner Sales Services at Peabody and Accelerate participant said: "I took a moment yesterday - Geeta and Kate’s speeches were so genuine and heartfelt. It’s all very well signing up to these things but actually knowing that it is put together and backed by people that really understand what the struggle has been means a lot. I scrolled and saw all the CEO’s from Peabody, L&Q, Network Homes, Southern etc and I thought wow. Just wow. I would never, ever had that kind of access before. And from day one! Honestly it gave me goose pimples and it was at that moment I realised what a tremendous opportunity this is for everyone, including our sponsors. We will have so much to contribute and feedback and this time we will be heard. I really am excited. The cohort were so fired up and what a lovely set they are, all brimming with ideas about how we will work together. This is a moment we have waited a long time for. I feel very honoured to be part of this. What an amazing opportunity. Change is coming. G15, I hope you are ready for us!"

Carmen Jones, Resident Services Improvement Specialist at Clarion and Accelerate participant said: "I had no idea of the level of seriousness and respect these speakers have for this until I heard their presentations today. Brilliant to hear there is a full understanding at senior level of the issue and how urgently it has to be addressed."

Ray Austin, Head of Homelessness and Prevention at One Housing and Accelerate participant said, "Absolutely fantastic start to the course. Course leaders have done an excellent job of putting people at ease and keeping the content flowing. This is different to any other kind of leadership course I’ve been on. The CEOs were an inspiration – honest, authentic and open to change. This programme is going to equip us with the insight and platform to be the best we can be."

In March, the G15 put together a ten point plan of action to improve the ethnic diversity of our leadership. Substantial progress has been made against each action which you can view here.

We’ve also published a case study brochure of examples from across our members of existing best practice in promoting diversity in the workplace and in the community. We’ve also published a good practice guide to recruitment and selection.