Our founder and CEO Baillie Aaron is stepping down in early 2020. Baillie reflects on how Spark Inside has never been stronger and why now is a good time to move on.
After just over seven years leading this incredible organisation, I’ve made the decision to step down from my role as CEO of Spark Inside early next year. This may come as a surprise but ultimately, I believe it is what is best for Spark Inside as well as for myself personally. This sentiment is shared by our Board of Trustees and Senior Management Team, who are excited for me as well as for the opportunities that will come with new leadership.
From an idea – a ‘spark inside’ – the charity has grown in impact and strength. I am overwhelmed with pride when I think about what our incredible team and Board have accomplished over the last 7.5 years. We have brought powerful new coaching programmes into prisons that have transformed the lives of over 1,000 people who live and work in prisons.
Our work is innovative, vital and a breath of fresh air in an archaic, dysfunctional system. And we’re only just beginning on our journey of co-developing new, innovative coaching models in prisons; of scaling our impact by licensing our programmes throughout the UK and globally; and of working to realise our vision of a world without prisons. We know where we need to go, and how to get there – and it is truly exciting.
Sometimes founders of charities leave when things aren’t going so well; but I’ve decided to do the complete opposite. Spark Inside has never been stronger. If ever there was a good time for me to move on, now is it.
My departure creates space for a new leader to continue the growth of this amazing organisation and take us into our next chapter of our existence as we set off on our own ‘Hero’s Journey’™ into the unknown world.
Finding the right successor is our highest priority. In our characteristic co-creative, collaborative fashion, we have created a very short survey to gather feedback on the ideal characteristics that we should be looking for in the next leader of Spark Inside. Please share your views and contribute to our future direction before close of play Wednesday 24 July 2019 via https://forms.gle/mx1i8YRAwHA892x37
So what’s next for me? I’ll be launching a consultancy practice, working with funders and social entrepreneurs/CEOs to address the charity sector’s inefficiencies, obstacles and glass ceilings that stand in the way of us achieving more meaningful impact.
I will still be in post as CEO until early next year to ensure a smooth transition and comprehensive handover to the next leader of this incredible organisation. And whilst I will be leaving, I’ll continue to support Spark Inside. It takes resilience, determination and passion to enable Spark Inside to be the very special organisation it is. Thank you for joining us on our journey.