Leadership 2025 appoints a Director

Leadership 2025 appoints a Director

A welcome note from our newly appointed Director, Jessica Parsons

I am delighted to be joining Leadership 2025 as Director. Previously, I have worked and volunteered in education, online safety, mental health and homelessness. Across roles and sectors, I have worked to improve outcomes in communities experiencing marginalisation, deprivation or high levels of need. Housing and equity of opportunity are essential in delivering much needed change.  At Leadership 2025, we are working to improve diversity and the representation of Black and Minority Ethnic groups within the Housing Sector’s leadership.

The Housing Sector is fundamental in people’s lives and in creating a society we can all be proud of and flourish in. Currently, its leadership is not representative of its communities. Diversity of leadership is widely recognised to improve commercial outcomes, impact and innovation as well as trust and reputation within the community and sector. Improving diversity is also an ethical priority.

We know that the sector is facing immense challenges which threaten the provision of safe, quality housing for all. Too often, we have seen catastrophic and devastating consequences of housing which is not adequate or equitable for people from BME communities and other underrepresented groups. This needs to change and addressing the diversity of leadership and structural inequality is fundamental in doing so. There is an appetite for this change across the sector but much more must be done to fully realise it.

The Leadership 2025 Programme for sector leaders will be relaunched in the new year. The course will incorporate networking and mentoring opportunities, accession and succession planning for individuals and organisations involved and feedback from alumni, educators and industry experts. There are a huge number of talented BME colleagues in the industry and ensuring that this talent is fully recognised, supported and developed benefits everyone. Leadership 2025 will continue to conduct and share research as a key tool for accountability and progress. We encourage more organisations to become Diversity Champions and adopt our five-point plan which is fully researched, adaptable and has had proven success in improving the diversity of leadership teams. We are also planning to expand our reach beyond London and welcome conversations or collaborations with organisations doing similar work or with similar aims.

I look forward to working with our trustees, partners and stakeholders both to achieve these aims and to navigate the challenges and barriers to progress. In doing so, I am committed to continued learning and collaboration, to having difficult conversations about change and working together towards a more equitable and diverse future for all.