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Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership

As more businesses realise that they need to adjust their strategy to make progress in the context of a more volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world, they must find ways to develop leaders differently.

Today’s approaches to leadership development are simply not delivering the leadership capabilities required for long-term business success. Our work shows that some leading organisations are successfully rethinking their leadership development strategy to meet the changing environment, but many organisations are yet to recognise the scale of change required.

Organisations need a new form of leadership development which helps them to reframe their purpose, strategy, culture – even their fundamental approach to value creation.  



Leadership development today

Developing the right leadership skills across an organisation is not easy, but a growing body of work indicates that organisations that cultivate learning and innovation to develop these capabilities are better able to anticipate and mitigate risk and enhance productivity. More importantly, they are better able to shape their own futures and seize the commercial opportunities inherent in aligning their business with society’s needs and priorities.

Our experience working with leaders over 30 years shows that with the right learning culture and interventions we can enable employees and organisations to lead with purpose and high impact. Our global leadership programmes are designed to help companies and individuals deliver commercial performance through contributing positively to society and the environment. 

More information on the skills and capabilities required of high-impact leaders is available in our Rewiring Leadership report.


Programme delivery

Our leadership work is led by our internal experts and draws on knowledge from our broad network of international leaders who are hand selected for each project based on their expertise. A cross-section of our programme Faculty and contributors is included below.

Lindsay HooperLindsay Hooper, Executive Director, Education, CISL

Lindsay leads the Institute’s Education and Advisory teams which support major organisations and individual leaders internationally to build the capability to create the future we want, aligning commercial performance with the delivery of positive outcomes for society. Lindsay speaks on global trends and the commercial implications for business, the relationship between business and society, and the leadership we need for the future we want. 


Zoe ArdenZoë Arden, Fellow, CISL

Zoë had a career in communications before moving into sustainability and latterly focusing on sustainability storytelling and leadership. She supports change agents in business to build compelling narratives that drive action. She is convenor and head tutor of CISL’s online High Impact Leadership Course and has contributed to CISL reports including Building Leaders for Long-term Business Performance and Rewiring Leadership. 

Paul BegleyPaul Begley, Director, Customised Programmes, CISL

Paul is the Director of Customised Programmes. Over the past eight years, he has designed courses to help organisations anticipate and respond to the changing context in ways which support resilience, innovation and productivity. He has helped clients in a range of ways, enabling them to enhance their strategic thinking, inform capital investment programmes, engage customers differently, create approaches to the circular economy and breakdown silos across complex organisations. 


Will dayWill Day, Fellow, CISL

For the last 11 years, Will has been Sustainability Advisor to PwC UK. In this role he works regularly with senior staff at Board and Executive team level of global and large national companies, and governments around the world to help them better understand and identify the strategic risks and opportunities that accompany the rapidly evolving global context. In addition, he holds roles including Chairman of the Sainsbury’s Foundation Advisory Board and Member of the Council of Ambassadors of WWF (UK) 

Louise DrakeDr Louise Drake, Fellow, CISL

Lou has a passion for supporting current and future business leaders to respond to some of the most pressing global leadership challenges and opportunities. She is one of the course directors and an academic tutor for the Master’s in Sustainability Leadership. She lectures and supervises on a range of topics including leadership theory, the history of sustainability, large scale behaviour change, social entrepreneurship, food systems, waste planning and management. 


Ben KellardBen Kellard, Director, Business Strategy, CISL

Ben leads CISL’s business strategy advisory work. He has a passion for shaping organisational purpose and strategies that unlock people’s desire to improve their own and others wellbeing, while sustaining the environmental systems the organisation relies upon. Ben draws on over twenty years of experience as an organisational consultant, to involve a range of stakeholders to develop shared responses to complex and ambiguous sustainability challenges. 

Jeannette LichnerJeannette Lichner, Tutor, CISL

Jeannette is a tutor on CISL’s High Impact Leadership online course and specialises in leadership development, business strategy and communication. She has a passion for continuous learning on a wide range of subjects and enjoys sharing those experiences to help people become even better leaders. She is a seasoned practitioner with more than 30 years of experience of managing and leading teams of varying sizes, technical/functional areas and geographies, particularly across Europe and Asia. 


Alice SpencerAlice Spencer, Programme Director, CISL

Alice joined CISL in 2017 and is responsible for developing and delivering customised executive education programmes for senior leaders. She is also responsible for delivering CISL’s annual series of programmes in Australia and for the Cambridge Earth on Board programme, which equips non-executive directors to engage with strategic business decisions to align sustainability and profitability.