Leadership 2025

What is it?

Leadership 2025 is a charity working across the sector, together with our key stakeholders, to make the housing sector leadership more diverse. Leadership 2025 addresses the supply and demand sides of the diversity leadership challenge.

Our vision is for the leadership of the housing sector to be ethnically diverse. Our mission is to dismantle structural inequality within the housing sector.  Our three-year Business Plan, which is currently being updated, can be found here.

Why was it set up?

In many areas, the housing sector is ahead of the curve on diversity and inclusion in employment.

Research from the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) shows that the housing sector is:

  • More diverse than other sectors
  • Employing a higher proportion of women
  • Employing more people from BME communities
  • Employing more people with disabilities

But where the sector falls short is in the proportion of BME people in key leadership roles. It is disproportionately small with just 4% of executive roles being held by individuals from ethnic minority backgrounds, compared to a 16%  of the total population in 2023. Whilst there are a number of ethnic minority CEOs in BME HAs, these organisations tend to be between 50 – 5,000 units. The representation of individuals from ethnic minority backgrounds in larger HAs drops significantly.

Following the repeatedly woeful diversity statistics at the top level and the clear benefits of having diverse leadership teams being well documented, Leadership 2025, with support from a number of allies, was set up in 2016 with an ambition of providing solutions and stimulating the housing sector to address inequalities. This would thereby lead to delivering a step-change in ethnically diverse leadership across the sector.

“The CIH Presidential Commission on Leadership and Diversity identified some big sector challenges to facilitate inclusion at the top. Leadership 2025 is one powerful solution. I’m delighted to see the sector is ready to take action.”
Terrie Alafat (CIH Chief Executive), 2017

Leadership 2025 consists of two main strands, which are aimed to complement each other:

  • Cultural Impact
  • Support Talent

Cultural Impact:

Leadership 2025 seeks to positively disrupt the housing sector by challenging current perceptions and promoting the fact that diversity is not something that ticks boxes but is good for business. Leadership 2025 published two research reports (2017 and 2019) with statistics and recommendations to support organisations to make a change.  Many of these findings were later repeated in the National Housing Federation’s 2021 and 2023 Diversity reports. 

Now a charity, Leadership 2025 are able to pursue the cultural impact strand of their work. This element aims to get a sector wide mindset change that understands the importance of making leadership teams more reflective of the communities they serve. This includes encouraging employers to champion support for diverse leadership and to take demonstrable action.

Leadership 2025 has been working with trade bodies and political organisations to effect this sector wide shift. Leadership 2025 will conduct further impactful research reports, collaborate with other public sector agencies and access funding from other, diversified sources. This in turn will allow us to have a greater impact within the housing sector and beyond.

Support Talent:

This strand focuses on the continued need to ensure that ethnic minority senior managers can feel they are fully equipped to be sector leaders. To address the lack of senior managers from ethnic minority backgrounds in leadership teams and boards, we developed, with Roffey Park Business school, an intensive nine-month leadership programme, involving strategic learning, peer group challenge, sector leadership mentors and technical masterclasses. Those who go through the leadership development programme should be sat around the top table of sector leadership in future years. Five cohorts have no completed the programme and bring a wealth of talent and expertise to the sector and its leadership. 

Leadership 2025 has a long-term ambition of supporting the creation of a housing sector that is vibrant and diverse at all levels, with better representation of ethnic minority individuals at leadership levels.

Leadership 2025 Success Stories 

Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, shows his support as he congratulates the second cohort and emphasises the importance of diversity in the housing sector.

The Trustees

The Leadership 2025 Trustees, that looks after the day-to-day operations of the programme, comprises:

Olu Olanrewaju


Gina Amoh

CEO, Inquilab HA

Elyse Hodgess

Associate Director, Adecco

Sandy Sohal

Sandra Skeete

CEO, Octavia Housing

Jitinder Takhar

Nathan Warren

Group Director, Sanctuary Group

Mark Washer

CEO, Sovereign

Funders Group

The Leadership 2025 Funders Group, that has oversight of the overall programme and provides guidance and advice to the Shadow Trustees, comprises:

Supported by Altair, the specialist housing and regeneration consultancy

Fiona Underwood

Chief Executive, Altair

Mihir Shah

Consultant, Altair

The Shadow Trustees are supported by:

Altair the specialist housing and regeneration consultancy

We are specialist housing consultants working across the UK and Ireland with a focus on adding value for our clients – whether they are a local authority, housing association, ALMO or private sector developer. Our team is second to none, offering real world expertise, thought leadership and insight. That’s why working with Altair helps organisations achieve their objectives, driven by our unique perspective into the rapidly changing market and political landscape.

Roffey Park

Founded in 1946, Roffey Park is a charitable trust which is internationally recognised for developing innovative learning approaches that enable individuals to achieve their full potential both at work and in their wider lives.

Roffey Park’s charitable objectives are:

  • To conduct promote and support for the benefit of the public research into questions affecting the health and welfare of all those engaged in industry, commerce and the public services and particularly into questions concerning the relations between management and employees and into the application of the Social Sciences to such questions and to publish the results of such research.
  • To advance education by providing training and discussion courses in all or any aspects of the science of personnel management for managers, administrators and supervisors and others having similar responsibilities.

Leadership 2025's sponsors include: