The new ILA: unearthing the leaders of tomorrow

Jeremy Hillman, chairman of the Inspired Leadership Award, reveals why the newly revamped award is recognising and rewarding young leaders.

I recently had the privilege of helping to put together a large and impressive panel to discuss finance for development at the World Bank and International Monetary Fund Spring Meetings in Washington DC. It included a sitting prime minister, finance and development ministers, several major private sector CEOs and chairs, the President of the World Bank and the UN Secretary General. At one point during the lively discussion one of them pronounced, with the clear agreement of all his fellow panelists, that what they all needed was more leadership on this issue.

The fact that this group of some of the most accomplished leaders in the world could acknowledge the need for more leadership amongst themselves underlines more clearly than anything the importance of the Inspired Leadership Award (ILA).

The ILA, awarded annually at The Performance Theatre, has been given to some of the most inspirational and accomplished leaders of recent decades, from Sir Richard Branson to Paul Polman to Melinda Gates.  It has recognised many individuals who have made, and continue to make, a unique contribution to better, more sustainable growth.

Yet in a world of ever more complex and urgent challenges, we have come to realise that it is no longer enough to reward accomplished leadership in retrospect, once individuals have already reached the commanding heights of their industry or sector. Instead, we are refocusing the ILA, and the influential and global TPT community, to recognise and accelerate the efforts of great young leaders with the potential to scale their work and create impact faster and more widely.

Over the last few months we have been building a larger, truly global, Inspired Leadership Award committee capable of working with The Performance Theatre community to identify world-changing leadership wherever in the world it may be. The diverse set of nominees for the 2015 Inspired Leadership Award is inspirational in every way imaginable. They have all built successful operations and in some cases large businesses with values and purpose at their core. Their success flows from a drive and determination to deliver growth and positive change on their own terms.

The winner of the revamped award will benefit from a 12-month mentorship programme – tailored to their work and ongoing ambitions – which will further aid their already impressive leadership skills. But mentorship in the modern leadership landscape is a two-way street: the CEOs and senior leaders and thinkers who will work with this year’s and future winners have just as much to gain from this knowledge sharing. Could the forward-thinking technological solutions or social media practices deployed by this year’s finalists benefit our partner organisations? How will these creative and fresh thinkers challenge business-as-usual approaches? It will be stimulating and exciting to expose these upcoming leaders to the TPT network.

Inspirational leadership can be a hard thing to define, but it’s something we all need more of. We hope the ILA will play its part in fostering it wherever we find it.