Mentors & Masterclasses

In addition to the Leadership 2025 Core Programme and the Strategic Leadership Programme, participants will have access to high quality mentoring support and master classes for technical skills such as Finance and Treasury, Development and Executive performance in the Board room.

The mentors for the 2017 cohort are current sector leaders, listed below. Mentors for the 2018 programme will be confirmed over the coming months.


Carol Matthews

CEO Riverside

Carol Matthews is the Group CEO of Riverside since February 2012, following five years as Chief Executive of Guinness Northern Counties, part of the Guinness Partnership.

Originally from Glasgow, Carol’s career began in housing with Sheffield City Council as a management officer collecting rent door to door and managing a patch. She also worked for Burnley and Bristol Councils prior to joining Northern Counties in 1993, ultimately becoming Chief Executive in 2007.

Carol sat on the Board of the National Housing Federation for seven years and is still involved at a regional level. She also served on the Audit Commission’s National Housing and Regeneration panel.

David Montague


David Montague has been Chief Executive of L&Q since February 2008.
In 2013 David was elected to the NHF board and awarded a CBE for services to housing in London.

David was recently the Chair of the g15 who represent London’s 15 largest housing associations, providing homes for one in ten Londoners and one quarter of all new building. In this capacity he was a member of Sadiq Khan’s Homes for Londoners Board.

David is a Fellow of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants and a Fellow of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors. He writes and speaks on housing issues and publishes regular blog posts on this website.

Paul Hackett

CEO Optivo

Paul is Chief Executive of Optivo. Prior to the launch of Optivo, Paul led AmicusHorizon as CEO since 2012. Paul has worked in the housing association sector since 1989. Before joining AmicusHorizon, Paul was Executive Director: Development and New Business with Moat.

He led Moat's new build and sales programmes and led the merger with Bourne Housing Society. He also oversaw a number of major regeneration projects, including Moat’s first PFI. Paul has also led a number of large and complex regeneration projects and stock transfers whilst working at L&Q.

Paul is Chair of g15 – the group of London’s 15 largest housing associations. Paul is a Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, the Chartered Institute of Building and the Chartered Institute of Housing. He is also a Board member of Gallions Housing Association.

Olu Olanrewaju

Director of Operations L&Q

Olu is currently the Executive Director of Operations at L&Q. Prior to this role, Olu was at East Thames, having been there since December 2013 to lead the Communities and Neighbourhoods directorate.

Olu was Interim Director of Communities and Neighbourhoods from October 2013 and was a member of East Thames’ board from 2001 to 2008, first as Chair of East Homes, an operating subsidiary, then as Vice Chair of the Group. He has two decades of experience in housing, including senior roles at several housing associations such as Midland Heart, Genesis and Radian. He is also on the board of a small housing charity and is a trustee at Common Purpose.

Brendan Sarsfield

CEO Peabody

Brendan is now CEO of Peabody following the merger with Family Mosaic. Brendan was previously the CEO of Family Mosaic at its point of merger in 2006. He joined Mosaic Homes in 2001 as Chief Executive.

Prior to that Brendan was a Director at Family HA for seven years. He spent five years at London & Quadrant as a senior manager and has also worked in local government.

Ann Santry

CEO Sovereign

Ann is the CEO of Sovereign since 1999. Former roles include Chief Executive of the Swaythling Housing Society in Southampton and Development Director for the Guinness Trust. She is chair of CASE, a lobby group on housing issues in the south east, and a non-executive director of the States of Jersey Development Company.

Ann was gained the CBE award in 2012.

Geeta Nanda

CEO Metropolitan HA

Geeta joined Thames Valley Housing as CEO in 2008 and moved to Metropolitan Housing Association in October 2017 as CEO. Geeta has worked in the housing sector for 28 years working for a number of Housing Associations in London. Geeta set up Fizzy Living the market rent venture with sovereign investors in 2013 and received an OBE for her services in social housing in the same year. She is a Non-Executive Director at McCarthy & Stone Plc and was previously Vice Chair of Scope and joins the NHF Board in September 2017. She has served on several commissions including the Fairness Commission for London.

Victor da Cunha

CEO Curo

Victor joined Curo in 2011, having been operations director at a London-based housing association for a number of years. Since then he has overseen the creation of Curo, transforming and streamlining the group structure and its business services.

Victor currently serves on a number of partner organisations' boards and committees, including Bath Tourism Plus and the Public Services Board. He is also active on the Chamber of Commerce, where he sits on their executive committee, and on the National Housing Federation's South West Regional Committee.

Helen Evans

CEO Network

Helen joined Network in 2010 as Director of London Operations becoming Chief Executive in September 2011. Network has since established itself as a top ten developing housing association.

Rita Akushie

Group Finance Director TVHA

Rita is currently the Group Finance Director at Thames Valley Housing since April 2017. Rita was previously both Deputy Chief Executive and Finance Director of the London-based Newlon Housing Trust. Before that, she worked for Gateway Housing, Springboard Housing and Family Housing.

David Orr

CEO National Housing Federation

David has been the CEO of the National Housing Federation since July 2005. David began working as a deputy warden at a homeless centre in Glasgow before becoming a co-ordinator at Centrepoint in London. He joined Newlon Housing Trust as Chief Executive and four years later became Chief Executive of the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations.

David is the former president of CECODHAS-Housing Europe, the European Liaison Committee for Social Housing. He has recently been appointed as the new Chair of the board of Homeless International. He is also a co-opted member of the Homeless International Council of Management.

David was awarded an honorary membership of the CIH in 2010.