Building Better Leaders Together

Ascent Leadership Network’s managing director explains how leaders can improve by collaborating.


LEADERS AREN’T ALWAYS born – they can and often have been made through effort and dedication instead. Stephen Kelner, managing director of Ascent Leadership Networks, spoke about the roles that constructive feedback and focused training play in building effective leaders at the 2019 World Economic Forum.

Kelner has over 25 years of experience in evaluating and developing executive leadership. Prior to joining Ascent, he served as the global thought leader for assessment and development at the global executive search and leadership consulting firm Spencer Stuart. He also previously held the position of global knowledge manager at the global executive search firm Egon Zehnder. Kelner now oversees leadership assessment and developmental practices at Ascent.


Ascent’s mission is to help leaders keep abreast of the rapid pace of progress by putting CEOs and other leaders in conversation with each other and creating programs that address pressing leadership challenges such as technological disruption or stakeholder engagement. “We bring leaders together from diverse backgrounds to have intensive, immersive experiences together over time that are tailored to them,” Kelner said. “That allows them to develop each other as well as themselves over the long term.”

One of Kelner’s personal leadership heroes, Abraham Lincoln, exemplifies the idea that leadership potential can be cultivated into greatness. Although “he didn’t start out as a great leader,” according to Kelner, he eventually grew into one in part because of his willingness to listen and learn from the input of others. In fact, he was known to bring those who opposed him into his administration so he could learn from their perspectives.

Ascent aims to utilize honest, constructive feedback as effectively as Lincoln did by forming networks of diverse leaders who can keep each other from falling behind the curve. Kelner pointed out that once leaders reach a certain level of power, their employees tend to be more hesitant about offering help – whether it’s because they believe leaders don’t need, want or welcome it. Through these networks, Ascent provides executive leaders with “objective and supportive” feedback from other changemakers that they can use to boost innovation and efficiency.



Spring Conference 2019 Trust Governance: Effective, Accountable and Ethical Governance

This conference is aimed at executive and governance leaders.  It is designed to connect you to ministers, regulators and policy makers.

Early Bird Discount – until 31 January 2019

The cost per place is £150 + VAT for CST members for the 1st delegate, with a reduced charge of £125 + VAT for any additional delegates from the same school/trust or additional bookings placed through the trust; £200 + VAT for non-member schools/trusts; £299 + VAT for commercial organisations.

After 31 January 2019

The cost per place is £175 + VAT for CST members for the 1st delegate, with a reduced charge of £150 + VAT for any additional delegates from the same school/trust or additional bookings placed through the trust; £250 + VAT for non-member schools/trusts; £299 + VAT for commercial organisations.

Draft Agenda

Registration opens

Welcome: Rob McDonough, Chair of CST

10.05 – 10.25
Lord Theodore Agnew, Parliamentary under Secretary of State for the School System and founder of the Inspiration Trust (invited)

10.25 – 10.50
Sector leadership keynote: Jonathan Simons, Founder and Chair of Governors of Greenwich Free School, Trustee of Astrea Academies Trust, Trustee of Ambition School Leadership, Director of Public First. Formerly policy adviser to the Treasury and head of education in the Number 10 strategy unit under Gordon Brown and David Cameron (confirmed)

10.50 – 11.10
Sector leadership keynote: Baroness Morgan of Huyton, Trustee of Ambition School Leadership and former Chair of Ofsted and Chair of Royal Brompton Hospital (confirmed)

11.10 – 11.30

11.30 – 12.10
Panel: effective, accountable and ethical governance chaired by Ed Dorrellwith:

  • Sam Twisleton OBE (Trustee of Astrea, Professor of Education at Sheffield Hallam University and Vice President Chartered College of Teaching (confirmed)
  • Steve Hodsman, Chair of Delta Academies Trust (confirmed)
  • Emma Perkin, Director of the Constant Group and formerly the lead governance professional for Ark Schools (confirmed)

12.15 – 13.00
Workshops – Session A

  • Features of an effective scheme of delegation, Roger Inman, Stone King (confirmed)
  • Trustee recruitment – Kirsty Watt, Head of Academy Ambassadors and Louise Cooper, Chief Executive of Governors For Schools (confirmed)
  • Ofsted’s multi-academy trust research project (confirmed)

13.00 – 14.00
Lunch and networking

14.00 – 14.20
Keynote: cultural markers in multi-academy trusts: Leora Cruddas, Chief Executive of CST (launching the joint CST and ICSA – The Institute for Governance report)

14.20 – 14.40
Keynote: governance of school improvement – Sir David Carter, Ambition School Leadership (confirmed)

14.40 – 15.00
Keynote on managing risk: Matthew Bedford, Commercial Director for Lloyds Banking Group’s personal customers business with responsibility for strategy, cost management, investment, performance and productivity (confirmed)

15.00 – 15.45
Workshops – Session B

  • MAT workforce research – Tom Glover and Vivien Niblett, Ambition School Leadership
  • The organizational economics of school trusts – Olmo Silva, London School of Economics
  • School/trust funding – PS Financials

Conference ends

2019 Governance & Leadership Conference

Steer through issues shaping today’s public entity pools at the 2019 Governance & Leadership Conference, March 3-6. The conference is set in St. Louis, named by The Wall Street Journal as one of the “10 most intriguing travel destinations for 2019.”

This year’s Navigating Change schedule offers a confluence of sessions on leadership, governance and hot topics pools can use to set a course for the future, including:

  • A two-part session on board composition and recruitment will be led by AGRiP 2019 Inclusion Resident Robin Stacia. Ideal for pool executives and governing bodies to attend together, this series will offer pragmatic solutions to develop board recruitment plans based on expertise, leadership, community connections, and more. The two-part series will be offered twice during the conference.
  • András Tilscik will speak about his research on thought diversity and why it’s so important for a successful pool governing body. He was well received at the 2018 Fall Forum and will return with fresh information.
  • Learn about the importance of collaborating with universities to build an employee pipeline and how cross-generational mentorships can deliver results within a pool.
  • A half-day of health pool programming will address issues specific to health pool operations. Book travel that allows you to remain onsite until at least 12 p.m. on Wednesday, March 6.
  • A session on practical methods to proactively mitigate and manage sexual abuse and molestation claims builds off a keynote session delivered at the 2018 Fall Educational Forum.
  • Power of Pooling Roundtables give opportunity for small group conversation on governance, leadership, and hot topics issues facing public entity governing bodies and leadership.

Pooling Basics helps those newer to public entity pooling learn how our approach varies from the traditional insurance industry and introduces attendees to the core operations important for every pool. Pooling Basics is appropriate for pool staff and governing bodies and is offered as a preconference program from 11 a.m. – 6 p.m., Sunday, March 3.

Attendee List


St. Louis is a changing and fast-growing city located at the heart of America on the banks of the mighty Mississippi River. It has a range of traditional and up-and-coming neighborhoods that cater to all types and attendees will want to check out:

  • The Central West End, just seven minutes away from the conference hotel with a range of dining and entertainment options.
  • University District near Washington University.
  • Soulard, known for its architecture and culture.

The city also boasts a renowned Italian dining district called “The Hill,” museums and national parks, and more. Attendees will want to explore The Gateway Arch, the Old Courthouse where two of the Dred Scott trials took place, Cardinals Hall of Fame and Museum and Busch StadiumLafayette Square, and the Economy Museum at the Federal Reserve.


To reserve rooms in AGRiP’s sleeping room block, all attendees must first register for the conference. After registering for the conference, you will receive information on how to make lodging reservations. If you make reservations outside this process, AGRiP will be unable to assist you if you face hotel issues.

The conference hotel, St. Louis Union Station, is listed on the National Registry of Historic Landmarks and once was the busiest train depot in the United States. The hotel’s Grand Hall, the largest train terminal of its day, evokes the glamour of train travel in its heyday.

St. Louis Union Station offers sleeping rooms ranging in size and amenities, with sleeping rooms in the AGRiP block ranging from $179 to $239 per night (while available and prior to tax and service fees).


There are two optional pre-conference social tours. Sign up during the registration process.

  • Gateway Arch National Park: See Gateway Arch, the 630-foot stainless-steel clad monument to St. Louis’ role in the westward expansion, in this self-guided tour. Enjoy a tram ride to the top of the arch and its lookout, and visit the museum and gift shop. All visitors will go through an airport-style security checkpoint. The tram ride may not be fully accessible to persons who are differently abled. Cost for this tour is $35 per person. Tours are:
    • 12:30-3 p.m., Sunday, March 3
    • 1:30-4 p.m., Sunday, March 3
  • Anheuser-Busch Brewery: No visit to St. Louis is complete without a visit to the Anheuser-Busch Brewery where some of the world-famous Budweiser Clydesdales are showcased. Designated as a National Historic Landmark District, the brewery grounds date to 1852. This group tour includes a visit to the gift shop and Biergarten where guests age 21 and older can have one complimentary beer. The cost is $40 per person. Tours are:
    • 1-4:05 p.m, Sunday, March 3
    • 1:35-4:50 p.m., Sunday, March 3

Both tours are first-come, first-served; a minimum of 20 people is required for each. Tours may be merged or canceled if attendance is lower than 20. Tours depart from the main entrance of the St. Louis Union Station.


Conference registration fees are $755 for AGRiP members; and $1,045 for nonmembers. Registration received after Monday, Feb. 11 will be assessed a $100 late registration fee.

Guest registration options are available for attendee travel companions, determined on the basis of covering all related food costs. Guests must be registered to attend meal(s) and to participate in tours. Guests are not eligible to attend educational programming.

  • Full Guest (Sunday reception, three breakfasts and two lunches): $355
  • Sunday Welcome Reception, only: $110
  • Monday meals (breakfast and lunch): $100
  • Tuesday meals (breakfast and lunch): $100
  • Breakfasts, only (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday): $135

click here to read more

14th European Conference on Management Leadership and Governance

Oct 18, 2018 – Oct 19, 2018 | (HU University of Applied Sciences, Utrec)

In today’s climate, more than ever, researchers are exploring the topics surrounding Management, Leadership and Governance. The European Conference on Management, Leadership and Governance – ECMLG, offers an opportunity for scholars and practitioners interested in these issues to share their thinking and research findings. These fields of study are broadly described as including issues related to the management of the organisations’ resources, the interface between senior management and the formal governance of the organisation. This Conference provides a forum for discussion, collaboration and intellectual exchange for all those interested in any of these fields of research or practice.