ACEVO Fellowships 2017

ACEVO announces the Fellowship Awards 2017

The charity leaders’ network ACEVO has named the five people chosen to receive the prestigious ACEVO Fellowship. And appropriately enough in ACEVO’s 30th anniversary year, 2017’s cohort brings the total number of Fellowships awarded by ACEVO to 30.

Sponsored by The Leadership Trust Foundation, ACEVO Fellowships champion inspirational and emerging leaders from across the country.

Fellowships are awarded to those whose work has been identified by their peers as outstanding, and whose achievements deserve greater recognition. The awards will be presented at ACEVO’s Annual General Meeting on Thursday 7 December.

Each Fellow receives a funded place on a Leadership Trust programme worth over £3,000; a personalised development plan; an ACEVO mentor; a free place on an ACEVO Leadership Learning workshop; a pack of ACEVO publications and a year’s free membership.

The winners are:

  • Mark Pemberton, director of the Association of British Orchestras
  • Sarah Robbins, chief executive of the Springfield Project
  • Jan Hutchinson, director of programmes at the Centre for Mental Health
  • Dr James Cusack, director of science at Autistica
  • John Schless, chief executive of the Students Union University of Greenwich

Chair of ACEVO Paul Farmer said: “ACEVO and the Leadership Trust Foundation take pride in rewarding inspirational leaders who demonstrate exceptional commitment, professionalism and vision. We’re delighted to give recognition through our Fellowships to the contribution these individuals make to their organisations and causes, and to offer them the opportunity to continue to learn and grow as leaders.”

Henrietta Baldock, chair of the Leadership Trust Foundation said: “Our congratulations to all the fellows on this much deserved award.  The most effective leadership stems from personal power not authority power and we are delighted to invest in all of the fellows in the belief that their personal growth will mean the organisations they represent will be even stronger in the future.”

Mark Pemberton – Association of British Orchestras

Mark Pemberton has been director of the Association of British Orchestras since 2007. He inherited an organisation that had just emerged from difficult times and has since restructured its team, built its reserves, increased membership, introduced new services and raised its political profile. One example from his many significant achievements includes successful lobbying for the introduction of Orchestra Tax Relief, which provided a new income stream for Association of British Orchestra members.

He is a much sought-after international speaker, making regular appearances at party conferences and many other key events. Mark has become someone of great influence within the music sector; in his role as chair of the National Music Council, he is the spokesperson for the music sector as a whole. He is also on the board of the National Campaign for the Arts and chair of ACEVO’s Arts & Heritage Special Interest Group. Before joining the Association of British Orchestras, he was chief executive of the National Operatic & Dramatic Association, the UK’s representative body for amateur and community theatre, during which time he also served as chair of Voluntary Arts England.

Sarah Robbins – The Springfield Project

Originally the deputy chief executive of the Springfield Project, Sarah Robbins was asked to take on the role of acting chief executive during a challenging time for the charity. Over the course of a year, Sarah worked with the board to help cultivate a business plan and strategy and worked with the chair on streamlining governance and gaining a better understanding of different finance streams. She managed to do this while providing leadership and certainty for 50 staff and 100 volunteers.

Sarah was eventually made chief executive of the Springfield Project and led the organisation to clearer financial and staff planning, a growing number of volunteers, and a greater amount of supported families. She and the charity were also invited to form a consortium with national charities to deliver Birmingham City Council children centres as a result of her leadership and professionalism. This was a successful bid, and Sarah and the charity are not only delivering new services their part of the city for vulnerable families and children, but are also overseeing the community strand for the whole city as part of a five year £170 million contract.

Jan Hutchinson – Centre for Mental Health

Jan Hutchinson began working as director of programmes and performance at the Centre for Mental Health in 2011. Jan has been a qualified social worker since 1994, going on to establish and manage a range of community mental health services in both the statutory and voluntary sector.

Jan has enhanced the Centre for Mental Health’s reputation as the leading IPS (Individual Placement and Support) organisation in the UK and abroad, and she has recently secured a £1.2m grant to implement IPS across London. She has also led various programmes such as “Workplace Training”, which is an evidence-based training programme to build the confidence and competence of line managers to identify and support staff experiencing mental distress in the workplace.

Jan is a leading authority on employment and mental health but also a hugely important figure for the team as she is recognised by her colleagues as a stalwart supporter who keeps people motivated when things gets tough. A colleague has referred to her as ‘the glue that keeps us on track’. Jan has consistently demonstrated her commitment to mental health, and more importantly her role as a team player supporting colleagues during difficult tasks. 

Dr James Cusack – Autistica

At the age of 12, Dr James Cusack was diagnosed with autism and told he would struggle to finish school. He then went on to excel at school, secure a psychology degree, PhD, and post-doctorate, before joining Autistica as the director of science to actively transform futures for autistic people. James’ role at Autistica is his first job after academia and he has dedicated himself to developing the skills and knowledge necessary to excel in the sector. He continuously engages himself in all aspects of the organisation, not just research. During his time at Autistica, James has profoundly reshaped Autistica’s scientific approach, governance and strategy, making sure to build autistic involvement in at every stage all while ensuring they fund the best science with the greatest impact. He has led an organisational shift towards a vastly popular outcome-focused mission which is offering everyone with autism the opportunity of a long, happy, healthy life.

James has worked tirelessly with both funders and academics in order to influence research priorities with huge success here and internationally, while also making sure to put issues like early death in autism firmly on the agenda. He has also developed a national autism research network that links scientists and families in order to accelerate progress and vastly improve Autistica’s influence, and expanded Autistica’s scientific portfolio to over 25 live studies based on the community’s priorities. He is also an active fundraiser, who understands how vital funding is for science to progress.

John Schless – Students’ Union University of Greenwich

In April 2016 John Schless was appointed as chief executive of an organisation which needed reworking. John’s role is complex in that it demands the leadership of the staff team of the Student Union, student volunteers and the student sabbatical officers.In a fairly short period of time, John has created a vibrant and proactive organisation which now has a robust infrastructure, a strategic plan that emerged from a clear vision for the organisation, and was developed by careful consultation with stakeholders. He has also created a purposeful staff team, an investment strategy that ensures commercial growth and an increase in student involvement across all areas of Greenwich University Students’ Union’s activity. 

John is someone with vision and integrity.  His relationship with sabbatical officers is outstanding; and he is respected both as a leader and a critical friend.  Similarly, he has managed the complex relationship with the University with great insight and aptitude. As a result of this, Greenwich University Students’ Union received an increase in the Block Grant and there is now a growing respect for Greenwich University Students’ Union amongst University policy makers.

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