Future of GM launches next phase

What better way to start the year than with a new home, great partners and a pack of exciting projects? Future of Greater Manchester, Future of London’s sister organisation, is doing just that.

Led by new FoGM Programme Lead Judi Greenwood and FoL / FoGM Executive Director Lisa Taylor, the 2023 offer will include the following. Anyone interested in these is welcome to get in touch:

  • GM Leaders Plus Round 4, launching 2 March – 2 spaces left!
  • Beta-testing a GM Leaders course to launch in 2024 (similar to Future London Leaders, but half in-person and half online with Urbancanda’s Miffa Salter).
  • The launch of a speaker diversity network for the region
  • The launch of a GM alumni network, with its own programme but linked to the national network.
  • Major project visits and idea exchanges between Greater Manchester and London – and potentially other places!

Shaping the future

Following a 2022 partner search, Future of GM is now a distinct company with its own programme steering group and board (including FoL Treasurer and long-time mentor John Lumley of L&Q), and a two-desk home kindly provided by Transport for Greater Manchester.

As part of its drive to become truly Manchester-based, FoGM hired Programme Lead Judi Greenwood, who also runs the acclaimed Regeneration Brainery. The Brainery gives college students in need of a boost an intensive work experience week in the property industry, including visits to councils, companies and development sites, plus support and mentoring.

“I’m excited by the chance to strengthen GM’s senior talent pool – and at the same time to develop the diverse leadership we need for the future,” says Greenwood, who will take over in 2024 from Taylor, who stays on through 2025 as advisor, board chair and to support the transition. Programme Coordinator Olivia de Vanssay will also work across both places and courses before training and handing to a Manchester-based successor.

Strong foundations

Future of Greater Manchester is backed by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority and helps urban practitioners connect across sectors, develop their leadership skills and share best practice.

GMCA Chief Executive Eamonn Boylan mentors and is an active champion, saying: “We must work across sectors and boundaries to tackle the challenges we face. This programme is critical for developing and equipping GM’s senior talent pool to do that.”

Future of GM was conceived in 2017 at the urging of Chris Paddock, a Mancunian working as London director for Regeneris, now Hatch. He wanted to see Future of London’s network and best practice value in his home city. FoL co-founder David Lunts, who cut his regeneration teeth in Manchester and is now Chief Executive of OPDC, got behind the project immediately and opened top-tier doors.

The concept won the support of GMCA Chief Executive Eamonn Boylan and Sir Richard Leese, then Leader of Manchester City Council, and is backed by GMCA, Hatch, Arup and Trowers & Hamlins.

Future of GM launched its first offering, GM Leaders Plus, right into the teeth of Covid in 2020 and grew slowly but surely -and  mostly online – for two years thanks to the partners’ faith in the initiative.

Since 2020, 75 senior leaders have participated in the core GM Leaders Plus programme.

Future of London started in 2010 as an inclusive membership network for the built environment. The non-profit focuses on leadership development, best practice, connection and diversity for public-, private- and third-sector practitioners in housing, regeneration, local economy and infrastructure.

Both also focus on socioeconomic impact and community engagement, with Future of Greater Manchester including integrated health and care, in line with regional priorities.

The two organisations have a combined network of more than 5,000 active practitioners across the UK, including nearly 700 increasingly influential alumni and a strong social media following. It’s going to get really exciting – hope you can get involved!

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