It is with great sadness that the Belong board of trustees announce that after five years with the Belong Network, CEO Jo Broadwood will be moving on from her role in January 2024.
An interim CEO has been appointed to the Belong Network until a new CEO is appointed in 2024. We are pleased to say that Jo will remain a part of the Belong Network as an Associate and a member of the charity’s advisory panel.
As trustees, it has been a privilege to work with Jo from the founding of the Belong Network in 2019, through the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic and as the charity continues to grow. Under Jo’s leadership, Belong has produced original and ground-breaking research demonstrating the benefits of investing in social cohesion. Belong has developed tools, resources, programmes and guidance that are now supporting a wide range of organisations, local authorities and communities in bringing groups together and building resilience. And through our communities of practice, conferences and workshops, Belong has strengthened networks and deepened collaboration and shared learning among its members, the sector and all those working alongside it. Thanks in large part to Jo’s vision, leadership and role in creating an outstanding team, Belong is looking forward in the New Year to working with members and partners on a range of initiatives to build social connection and promote the importance of cohesion and integration.
Jo Broadwood said: “I am immensely proud of what Belong has accomplished in its first five years, despite the enormous challenges of being a young charity at the start of the pandemic. It has been a pleasure and a privilege to work with Belong’s fantastic board of trustees and staff team, and all of the Belong Network members across the country. Belong’s vision of a more cohesive, less divided society, and work to support, connect and catalyse all those committed to this vision has never been more important. I have made the difficult decision that now is the right moment to hand on the baton of leadership. But I know that, in the hands of the existing team of staff and trustees, and under future leadership, Belong’s work will continue to go from strength to strength.”
Shalni Arora, Co-Chair of the Belong Network, said: “We are extremely grateful to Jo for her brilliant work in the last five years. Jo has been an instrumental force in taking Belong from an embryonic to an established organisation with ever-expanding impact and influence. I know Jo is highly regarded as a thought-leader and bridge-builder across the sector and she is a passionate and very effective advocate for social cohesion.”
Jo will be moving on to take up a new role as CEO of the youth and conflict charity, Leap Confronting Conflict, in February 2024.
Mike Waite has been appointed as interim CEO. Mike is already a Belong Associate and brings a background in local government, and a rich and varied experience of working with a variety of different organisations, communities and local areas to build resilience and social cohesion. Mike will remain in post until the new permanent CEO is appointed.
Co-Chair, Miriam Juan Torres Gonzales said: “We wish Jo every success in her new role. We are really pleased that she will continue to support Belong as an Associate and Advisor for the charity. We want to build on the legacy that Jo leaves and it will be valuable to be able to continue to draw on her experience and knowledge. We are also very pleased to be appointing an interim CEO who already knows Belong well and will be able to ensure stability, continuity and the ongoing growth and development of Belong before handing over smoothly to new leadership.”