Update from Ed Lehmann – Chair of Trustees
I’d like to introduce you to Bejal Shah, who will be taking over the day to day leadership of ReachOut in the newly created role of Chief Operating Officer. Bejal is an outstanding leader who has successfully overseen our programme delivery for the last three years. Before that she spent 7 years at Explore Learning Ltd. leading teams to manage an after-school education provision for young people aged 4 to 16.
Most recently, Bejal has led the creation of ReachOut’s new digital mentoring service, ReachOut Home, which will run in over 30 schools this academic year.
This change in leadership comes as Peter Blackwell has decided to move on to pursue other projects, from his new base in Barcelona.
In his five years as Chief Executive, and 16 years altogether in the organisation, Pete has been instrumental in ReachOut’s transformation into the professional and effective organisation it is today. His dedicated leadership and passion for mentoring has helped to transform the lives of the thousands of young people who have come through our programmes. On behalf of the Board, I would like to thank Pete for his hard work and wish him every success for the future.
Bejal will be leading the organisation from 1st December as we deliver mentoring to schools across England in a COVID safe way, facilitated by ReachOut Home. The Board has been extremely engaged in the leadership transition and has every confidence in the success of ReachOut, so much so that we are taking our time to carefully consider the right management structure for the organisation in the future.
To further support the organisation, James Williams has been appointed as Head of Business Development and will be working with Bejal, the team and the Board on the development of ReachOut’s income strategy. James has over 18 years’ experience working in fundraising, partnerships and voluntary sector leadership roles. Anand Shukla also joins the team as a senior advisor to the board, with a focus on strategy and leadership development. Anand joins us part time, as he’s also doing a Master’s at Kings College London. He was previously CEO at Brightside, a large UK mentoring charity, and has held other senior management and board positions across the voluntary sector.
Our work supporting young people has never been more important as we battle the challenges presented by COVID-19. The Board & I look forward to working closely with Bejal and the team over the coming months to help ReachOut rise to those challenges.
Thank you for all your ongoing support and collaboration.