The front line of leadership: from surviving to thriving


Join us on 18 October as together we look through the lens of the leader to explore the challenges, successes and unique perspective of the not-for-profit CEO.

Told through the stories of dynamic leaders in the sector and beyond, this one-day “ACEVO Live” event brings together the expertise and insight of peers, connecting through shared experience and responsibilities, and learning from each others’ different leadership approaches.

We will explore together how we can lead differently, lead digitally, and lead for a greater impact so that we, our organisations, our people and our purpose can not just survive but thrive. 


Book your place now to:

    • Connect with other charity and social enterprise chief executives to share your own experience of leading from the front line
    • Hear how to encourage greater diversity of thinking in ourselves and our organisations
    • Discuss ways of attracting and leading the workforce of tomorrow
    • Explore how to lead cultural change in your own organisation
    • Embrace the opportunity of digital transformation
    • Learn new ways to achieve and measure greater impact
    • Examine different models of leadership


09.00 – 10.00 Registration and exhibition opens
10.00 – 10.05

Chair’s welcome

Vicky Browning, CEO, ACEVO 

10.05 – 10.10

Sponsors' welcome

Chris Queree, head of charities, Ruffer Investment Management 

Tim Rutherford, head of charity and social enterprise sector group, Stone King

10.10 – 10.30

Dr Pippa Malmgren: Understanding leadership in the 21st century

Dr Pippa Malmgren, former presidential advisor and advisor to the British government, will explain why we need more than greater diversity of people in our organisations - we also need greater diversity of thinking. We need less prediction and more preparedness, less certainty and more fluidity with uncertainty. That's what will reduce the risk that we keep being blindsided by events.  

10.30 – 11:05

Innovation in leadership: bite-sized brilliance

Four inspiring civil society leaders with very different experiences share their thoughts on innovation in styles of leadership in a quick fire session: just seven minutes each.

11.05 – 11:25

Discussion: reflect and share

Explore and share your thoughts on what innovation means for your leadership and your organisation today. 

11.25 – 11:55

Exhibition, networking, advice surgeries and refreshments 

Breakout sessions

Each of our breakout sessions will explore our three central themes from four different perspectives. For each topic you will have the opportunity to choose to:

  • Hear from an expert speaker who will share their personal story

  • Learn how this can apply in the real world with our workshops

  • Explore differences in approach to leadership from our panel discussions

  • Share your experience and insights with others in our sharing hack

11.55 – 12.55

Breakout theme 1: Four perspectives on leading differently

Expectations at work are changing. Balanced leaders adapt to their teams and flex their approach to manage effectively. Uncertain times and constant change mean that we need to get comfortable in the unknown.

1.1 Speaker: Julie Bentley, CEO, Action for Children: Different models of leadership 

1.2 Workshop: Investment for charities: thinking differently in uncertain times: Chris Queree, head of charities, Ruffer

1.3 Panel discussion: Tomorrow’s workforce and how we need to lead: led by David Smith, CEO, Hull and East Yorkshire Mind, Yemi Gbajobi, CEO, ARTs and LSE Students' Union, Diane Lightfoot, CEO, Business Disability Forum, Paul Boissier, CEO, RNLI and Girish Menon, CEO, ActionAid UK

1.4 Sharing hack: How do you lead cultural change in your own organisation? Matt Hyde, CEO, The Scouts

1.5 How to create a 'well' organisation: expert coaches from Bird

Find out more

12.55 – 14.00 Lunch, exhibition, advice surgeries and networking
14.00 – 15.00

Breakout session 2: Four perspectives on leading digitally

Technology evolves daily. Forward-looking leaders learn from others and spot ways to help their organisation work better. So what does digital leadership look like and how can we encourage it in ourselves and our organisations?

2.1 Speaker: Kay BoycottCEO, Asthma UK: Leading your organisation through digital change 

2.2 Workshop: What digital leaders need to know: Zoe Amar, founder and director, Zoe Amar Digital and Mark Galloway, CEO, International Broadcasting Trust

2.3 Panel discussion: Creating digitally savvy senior management teams and boards: led by Ann Longley, founder, Something New Together, Caroline Lee-Davey, CEO, Bliss, Fozia Irfan, CEO, Beds & Luton Community Foundation and Steve Ford, CEO, Parkinson’s UK 

2.4 Sharing hack: How do you harness tech to grow your impact and reach? Ellie Hale, digital fellowship and communities lead, CAST

2.5 How to create a 'well' organisation: expert coaches from Bird

Find out more.

15.00 – 15.20 Exhibition, networking, advice surgeries and refreshments
15.20 – 16.15

Breakout session 3: Four perspectives on leading for impact

Embracing change now will lead to a greater future impact. Focused leaders hone in on core mission and explore possibilities. Rising demand and uncertain income streams necessitate a renewed emphasis on focus: reduced resources means we need to concentrate more than ever on activities that make the biggest difference.

3.1 Speaker: Mark Atkinson, chief executive, Scope: Driving change for future impact - leading Scope’s transformation through a focus on core purpose 

3.2 Workshop: Developing and aligning an outcomes based evaluation framework with our strategy: Susan Daniels, CEO, NDCS and Michelle Gardner, deputy director governance and planning, NDCS  

3.3 Panel discussion: Growing your impact together - looking at mergers and collaborations: led by Hannah Kubie, partner, Stone King, Tracey Bleakley, CEO, Hospice UK and Chris Martin, CEO, The Mix.

3.4 Sharing hack: How do you focus your mission to improve your impact: Rosie Ferguson, CEO, Gingerbread

3.5 How to create a 'well' organisation: expert coaches from Bird

Find out more.

16.15 – 16.20

Welcome back

Vicky Browning, CEO, ACEVO

16.20 – 16.55

Margaret Aspinall: Never give up

Margaret Aspinall CBE, chair of the Hillsborough Family Support Group, lost her eldest son James in the stadium disaster of 1989. Margaret will tell her personal story of leading the Hillsborough families’ fight for the truth and the vital role of voluntary groups and charities in speaking out against injustice. She will share her advice for leaders on campaigning successfully and staying resilient in the face of apparently overwhelming odds. 

16.55 - 17:00 Conference closes
17.00 - 19.00 Please stay and join us for a networking drinks reception hosted by Access 


  Book now



 If you would like the opportunity to sponsor or exhibit at the ACEVO annual conference, please contact Pete Johnson by email or by phone 0207 014 4616.

Headline sponsors:







 Drinks reception sponsor:  




Digital sponsor:




Ellis WhittamTowergateCAFSarasin & PartnersCharles StanleyWavertonClass NetworksThe Good ExchangeEnergycentric, Charity Bank, Action Planning, The Professionalism Group, Eastside PrimetimersInstitute of Leadership & Management and Protecture.