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East Midlands

Our IoD Charter will stand us in good stead in these challenging times

24 Jun 2020

As Gary Headland takes over the reins at IoD East Midlands as Regional Chairman, he offers some insights into his goals and hopes for the future

I was very proud to be appointed as the Regional Chairman for the IoD in the East Midlands at the start of May. I took my first job at the age of 13 in an indoor market in Stevenage in 1982 and have worked without a career break ever since. At the age of 17 I joined the Royal Air Force with just three O Levels (I am that old!), leaving the RAF 23 years later as a wing commander with an MBA, an MA in Defence Studies, a private pilot’s licence and a level 7 professional qualification. I owe so much to the RAF for the opportunities to develop that the service offered me, and I have nothing but admiration for all those who serve our country, and their loved ones who support them. Following my military career I joined the police as a civilian director for a little over two years and then moved to the private sector as a director of a global software and services business for around four years. Six years ago I was appointed as CEO of a group of six colleges in Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire and Saudi Arabia, with other commercial operations in the UK and export contracts in China and the Eastern Caribbean. My current job is the toughest I have ever had but the ability to touch people’s lives through education and skills is incredibly motivating and gratifying. 

My connection with the IoD began four years ago when I was appointed as the Chairman of the Greater  Lincolnshire Branch and I have really enjoyed the experience. I am sure all of our members know something about our Royal Charter and our history. 

What I hadn’t really connected with until recently is that our Institute is fundamentally about public service, something that I suspect can sometimes get lost because of the commercial business environment in which we frequently operate. 

So I have been asking myself some searching questions about how best to serve our members in the East Midlands  in line with our Charter. The IoD staff and committee members across our region are charged with helping our members to connect to one another with a strong business purpose, to help them develop professionally as directors, and to help our members to influence policy and decision-makers in ways that help their businesses be more productive, resilient and innovative.

This is a big responsibility, especially in the current Covid-19 environment, but we are up for the challenge. We are especially focused on supporting local business directors through our branch network, which is currently being aligned to Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) territories. 

I am delighted to announce Michelle Allison as my successor as the new Chair of the IoD Greater Lincolnshire Branch and Dr Craig Marsh as our new Regional Ambassador for Skills and Education. We will be recruiting soon two new Branch Chairs (Leicestershire and South East Midlands Branch and Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Branch); if you are interested in either role please drop me an email at and we can arrange to speak informally. 

Finally, I’d like to thank my predecessor, Garry Smith, for all his hard work on behalf of the IoD as regional chairman over many years; and to say how much I am looking forward to meeting as many of you as possible during the weeks and months ahead.

Gary Headland

Chair IoD East Midlands 

This article is from the IoD East Midlands Summer magazine. You can read it in its entirety by clicking below. 

IoD East Midlands Summer Magazine

Contact IoD East Midlands

For more information, please contact

0121 281 5530

East Midlands

Branch and staff contacts can be found on the main Contacts tab

IoD East Midlands
Nottingham Trent University,
Burton Street,

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Take a look at the organisations that sponsor the IoD East Midlands, and find information about our sponsorship packages. 

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