The Leadership Centre Welcomes New Chief Executive
We are delighted to announce the appointment of Mark Rogers as our new Chief Executive. Mark brings a wealth of experience to the Leadership Centre, ranging from the education sector through to Local Government and latterly the Civil Service.
Mark spent 17 years working as a teacher and headteacher before moving into Local Government; a move that would eventually result in his appointment as Chief Executive of Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council and, later, Birmingham City Council.
Mark joins the Leadership Centre from his most recent role as Director General for Children, Young People, Education and Skills at the Government of Jersey. He has also previously held the position of President of SOLACE, the leading members’ network for Local Government and public sector professionals in the UK.
Fundamental to Mark’s career has been the championing of inclusion and the role of leadership in delivering on it: “The thread running through all of my work has been the importance of embracing diversity and following that through by ensuring that there is equality of opportunity for all. I have spent the best part of my career working alongside children, young people and families seeking ways to create the conditions for them to be successful and valued on their own terms. Tackling exclusion and marginalisation is a huge part of what drives me”.
Mark is an alumnus of the Leadership Centre, attending an earlier version of the Centre’s flagship leadership programme. He recalls it being a unique experience: “Until the Leadership Centre came along, almost all of my leadership development was reactive and inward-looking. Too many of my peers and I were not prepared for promotion to senior roles, with it often taken for granted that we would know intuitively how to engender shared vision, values and purpose; and embrace complexity, place and system leadership.
“When I participated in the Centre’s Leeds Castle programme, I remember distinctly that it was the first time I’d ever been in a situation where council leaders and chief executives from different parts of the country came together on equal terms, exploring issues that were neither fully comprehended, nor easily deal with. It was so refreshing – and challenging – to confront complexity in this way: so much more rewarding than simply trying to improve your performance at things that were already known and understood.
“As I reflect on my motivation for joining the Leadership Centre, I am reminded that is the one organisation that existed, and still exists, to enable leaders in (and beyond) public services to confront those wicked and systemic issues that they find in their places – problems that are characterised by complexity and have previously been ignored or thought too difficult to tackle.”
Arriving into his new position at the beginning of 2022, Mark sees great potential in the timing of his appointment: “It is undeniably exciting – and not a little daunting – to be joining at a moment in time when everybody is thinking about what they have learned, and how they can move forward positively, from two turbulent years of pandemic.
Public services are undiminished in their commitment to improving outcomes for people and places: but the world has changed – and continues to do so – and the need for insightful, humble, inspiring and resilient leadership never greater. Despite the upheaval, there has been an increase in joint working at a local level and between central, regional and local government – and undoubtedly the challenges ahead will need that continued cross-organisational thinking to tackle them.
“The Leadership Centre is absolutely perfectly placed to work with those who deliver services to the public, to think about how to deal with the new and emerging challenges for places and people.
“The Centre doesn’t exist just to promote leadership – it exists to nurture leadership with a purpose, which is to make a positive difference to people and places.”
Chair of the Leadership Centre Board of Trustees, David Lloyd, said:
“The role of the Leadership Centre has never been more important. The climate into which Mark is arriving is one of unprecedented uncertainty for public services, with a significant amount of learning from the pandemic for us to take stock of. The need to develop high quality leadership alongside space to address the most complex and difficult of societal issues has never been greater.
“Mark has already demonstrated his eagerness to honour the heritage of the Leadership Centre whilst also listening closely to others to help build a clear vision for the future of the organisation.
“With his own unique and hugely relevant leadership journey, Mark is well-equipped to take the Leadership Centre into its next phase of development. I look forward to working with a person whose leadership I have admired for many years and who has much to contribute to what we are trying to achieve.”
Mark has shared some of his initial reflections arriving into his new role in this short film: