Using our expertise to change the sector

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At Impetus we live and breathe organisational and leadership development. This programme is the culmination of our 15 years’ professional expertise, combined with our increased awareness of and commitment to the urgent work needed to achieve greater racial equity within the youth sector.

The origins

The Impetus Leadership Academy is the result of a year of hard questions, analysis and soul searching. During 2020, we embarked on a period of deep reflection about our own commitment to racial equity, what our values are and should be, and how to best embody them.

Read more about Impetus’ commitments to race equity here.

Our ‘Race Equity Taskforce’ led us to some stark conclusions. As an organisation we are not diverse enough and we need to challenge ourselves to do better, not just in terms of diversity among our own staff and leaders, but our commitment to racial diversity in our charity investments and in the sector as a whole.

It won’t come as a surprise to learn that just 7% of UK charity leaders are from minority ethnic backgrounds. What is less reported on is the research that has shown that diverse leadership teams make better decisions and build more effective organisations. There’s an obvious solution to the problem and we can use our expertise in leadership development to contribute to change.

The aims

The Leadership Academy aspires to be about more than helping talent from minority ethnic backgrounds move into greater leadership positions; it’s also about bringing the conversation about race equity into the leadership space. We want to help participants develop their own leadership styles that enable them to ask the difficult questions about what good leadership looks like, the role of race in leadership, and ultimately build more effective organisations that can make an impact on the lives of young people.

The type of leadership we want to nurture requires vulnerability and courage – the bravery to raise difficult discussions, be willing to fail, go beyond the known knowns and the need to be seen to be asking the right questions within the established framework of what good looks like. Can we challenge some of the established notions of leadership that lead to organisations that lack diversity - and start to lead differently?

Young people from minority backgrounds twice as likely to be unemployed than their white peers. Young people from minority ethnic backgrounds are also more likely to be in low paid, less secure jobs and work in more precarious conditions.

Without challenge there won’t be change. Change won’t come overnight but we must strive for more diverse leaders at the table with decision makers - and the opportunity to influence the debate on issues affecting young people. We must make progress towards systems change, and greater equity.

The programme

There are other leadership programmes out there but ours is unique in specifically supporting emerging leaders from minority ethnic backgrounds in the UK youth sector.

The programme has been designed to give a solid grounding in key skills needed to lead charities and social enterprises - impact management, financial management and fundraising. But to also explore what it means to be a leader in the modern world and each participant’s personal development journey.

We won’t shy away from the question of race: the experiences of participants will shape and inform discussions and help us learn as a group, including ourselves. Staff from our partners Bank of America, all from minority ethnic backgrounds and with senior professional experience, will offer 1:1 mentorship to participants as they navigate their leadership development journey.

We aim to build networks through this programme, the cohort of participants, but also from Impetus and Bank of America who will facilitate introductions to their own networks so participants can further explore opportunities for development, connections, and funding.

Who should apply?

We're looking for leaders in the youth sector who are ready and excited to move into their next, more senior leadership challenge. We hope this is an opportunity that excites you and that you want to step out of your comfort zone and stretch your skills, learning and networks.

The application form is simple and can be found on our website. If you want to progress your career in the UK youth sector and come from an minority ethnic background we urge you to apply, and let’s work together to do better for the sector, and the young people we care about.

Check your eligibility and apply here before 30 July 2021.

Sherine Mahmoud was a Senior Investment Director at Impetus

Find out more

Impetus Leadership Academy: building diversity in the UK youth sector

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Being a leader in the charity sector - four reflections

This week was our Chief Executive's last at Impetus. He shares his reflections in the hope that it kicks off similar conversations with others in the sector.
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