Twenty one charity leaders to watch in 2021

Like most years, 2020 has seen a large number of appointments, with charity leaders moving from and to big and exciting roles.

We asked you to nominate people who were new to a different leadership role (or indeed leadership altogether) and coupled the results with our own round-up of some of the leaders who have made the headlines for positive reasons this year. The list we curated is by no means extensive, but it does highlight some key players worth watching in the year ahead.

Many of the appointments listed have been born from reputational scandals, whilst for others, the roles are new, innovative and exciting.

This year, more than ever before, the charity sector has undergone serious change. Prompted by the pandemic, charities have quickly had to adapt to digital ways of working and to increased demand with limited resources.

At the same time, the sector has also had to step up to truly assess whether the people at the top are the right people for the job. Do they make other employees feel safe? Do they truly understand the cause? Do they represent the communities they are serving? Do they offer opportunities to their staff and encourage development? Do they help the charity to grow?

These are all questions donors, beneficiaries, employees, volunteers and the media are all starting to ask. There is more pressure than ever on leaders to achieve great things, and perhaps more pressure than ever for leaders to ask themselves ‘could somebody achieve greater things for this charity than I?’

One leader mentioned in our list is Becky Hewitt, who has shown a fantastic example of this. Currently CEO of the charity Changing Faces, Hewitt announced her plans to step down to let somebody with specific healthcare experience to take on the role.

We’ve heard of many leaders this year refusing to speak at conferences lacking diversity of speakers, or refuse to work with corporate partners with questionable values. So if ever there were a year to watch the movements of your fellow leaders, 2021 will be it.

The leaders who struggled to stay afloat during the pandemic will be left wondering whether they are still leading their charity in the right direction, and the leaders who have just joined a new organisation will be taking on some huge and exciting challenges.

So, keep your eyes peeled. Watch, learn and let us know. We’ll be reporting back in 2021 with our next round-up of inspirational leaders, so if anybody is standing out to you, get in touch. We’d love to hear from you.

In the meantime, take a look at the full list of leaders in the latest issue of Charity Times here.

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