Dame Mary Marsh of the Clore Social Leadership Programme

The outgoing founding director says it feels like the right time to move on

Dame Mary Marsh
Dame Mary Marsh

Before Clore, I'd spent many years in leadership roles in the voluntary and other sectors. My previous post was chief executive of the NSPCC. The Clore Social Leadership Programme was the first start-up I was involved in and it's been a great experience. I was the founding director and our aim was to promote leadership in the social sector. More than 100 people have so far gone through the programme and demand for places continues to rise – we received more than 1,000 applications for those 100 places.

After nearly seven years in the job I'm moving on. I've loved being part of an organisation that is tackling the need for leadership development in the sector. In charities we spend a lot of time worrying about the needs of beneficiaries, which I understand, but we can't do what's best for beneficiaries without also doing what's best for staff and volunteers.

So many of the people who have gone through our programme, or applied to it, have told me they really need a space to think about where they are in their working lives and what they need to do to progress – space they don't get day to day. I've interviewed about 270 applicants over the years and I always offer them feedback; many have told me they rarely get this kind of feedback at work and how useful it is.

It feels like the right time to move on – it's important as a founder to trust that the organisation you've helped build can continue without you. I'm not sure what the future holds, but I'm certainly not retiring. I have some non-executive roles and there'll be other opportunities to use my experience.

The Clore Social Leadership Programme develops leaders with a social purpose

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