Meet Matthew Suker – a future leader of Nottingham inspired by the difference he can make

This year’s Future Leaders of Nottingham programme got underway recently so we caught up with Matthew Suker, Customer Relations Team Leader at Nottingham City Homes, to find out what led him to join this unique professional development programme and how he’s finding it so far!

“When I joined Nottingham City Homes, I was just looking for a job and that was all I got. An 8-week contract as a temp, working as an administrative assistant. That contract slowly grew longer and longer until I was offered a fixed-term position instead. I often felt overlooked in the role and it was quite common that I would be referred to as ‘just an admin’. It bothered me because I could see the importance of everyone’s role, so why couldn’t they?

Learning about different behaviours with an outdoor group task

“I was happy to keep plodding along as ‘just an admin’ until the day my manager announced that she was leaving for a new job. I was delighted for her but what came as a real surprise was when she spoke to me and said she felt I had the right attitude and skills to take her place. At first, I thought she was crazy, but as we talked I started to think, “Maybe she’s right!”, so I applied. The day I found out I’d got it, I could have cried, as I suddenly realised that what I had wasn’t a job any more, it was a career! Shortly after, I moved again, this time into my current role.

“I’ve been fortunate really. The managers I’ve had have been inspirations to me. They’ve consistently demonstrated the values, attitudes and skills that I seek to have myself.

As it turns out, I actually seem to be fairly good at being a manager, but I don’t want to be a good manager, I want to be a great leader!

“When I first heard about Future Leaders it sounded like exactly what I needed to help me develop the skills I needed to be the kind of leader I aspired to be. Unfortunately, I wasn’t in the best place to apply for it, being new to my role and also dealing with some health issues so applying wasn’t really an option. If I was going to do this, I was going to give it my best. A year later, the time was finally right. As there are several others within the business who have been involved in previous years, I had a wealth of insight and experience to draw on to learn what the programme was about and how to write the best application.

Julia Regis talking about personal values and self-limiting beliefs

“After four re-writes and multiple edits, my application was complete and the waiting began! Fortunately, it didn’t take long to hear back and it was good news. I was invited along to a selection day, an event that previous applicants shared ominously little about. Then the day came and I found myself sat in a room with eleven other hopefuls, all presumably as nervous as I was. Under threat of dire consequences, I can say very little about the selection day, but it was without a doubt one of the most enjoyable and engaging days at work I have ever had.

“Our first gathering as a cohort once the programme started was certainly an experience!

What immediately became apparent was the wealth of experience and knowledge in the room. Marathon runners, international travellers, an Olympic silver medallist and even a potential Milkybar Kid!

It was actually a little intimidating at first, but it soon became clear that everyone was there to learn and grow. What else struck me was how welcoming everyone was. As soon as that room filled we weren’t a cohort, we were a team!

“The masterclasses we have had so far have been fantastic, but what really excites me is the project work where we get to do something… anything… to benefit the people of Nottingham. We can do what we want! We can pick something we care about. We can form our own teams. We decide what we want and we can just run with it. It’s a kind of freedom that is both liberating and terrifying at the same time. Succeed or fail, it’s going to be in our own hands.

“While I’m keen to see what we’re all going to learn and how we’ll all grow as future leaders, it’s the thought of what we can achieve both within and beyond the programme that truly excites me. So here I am, poised and ready to see what the programme will bring. Watch this space!”

The 2019-20 cohort

Find out more

The Future Leaders of Nottingham programme aims to make leadership in Nottinghamshire more diverse and representative – by creating a network of talented people to inspire others and drive change.  The programme is run by a group of leading employers committed to improving inequality and under-representation at senior levels – coordinated by The Renewal Trust.

If you’re interested and would like to know more please email futureleaders@renewaltrust.org.uk