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Leadership Team

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Ruth Kettle

Chief Executive

Ruth Kettle has overall responsibility at Community Links which is part of Inspire North.


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Ruth Kettle

Chief Executive

Ruth Kettle has overall responsibility at Community Links which is part of Inspire North.


About Ruth

What is your role within SLT and what are your main responsibilities?
I’m Chief Executive of the Inspire North group, which incorporates both Foundation and Community Links (CL) and their subsidiaries. I am responsible for ensuring the success of the organisation, and in bringing together two great charities to make something better than the sum of its parts. It’s important that I’m a good role model and live our values, as people look to me to set the tone of the organisation. That is why I am so proud we achieved Best Company status and became a top 50 inclusive company. (CL was placed 6th this year).

Why did you choose to work for a third sector organisation?
I’ve always worked in the third sector as it suits my personality in terms of getting things done with the least amount of bureaucracy! I confess I am a rule follower, so I also ensure we follow best practice in whatever we do, from governance to service delivery.

What skills and experience have you brought with you from other roles?
I’ve been CEO of Community Links since December 2014, and have been on a real journey during this time – weathering many storms and achieving great successes. Being determined and tenacious are vital skills. I’ve been a senior leader since 2003 when I joined Community Links, and have been a key part of our continued growth and development into new services and ventures during this time. I’ve worked for a national charity and a small local organisation, so have experience of the challenges and benefits of both of these. This helps inform my decision making even now, many years later. Experience has also taught me to always employ people who are better than me, it’s all about the team work.

I am a mum of two and an adopter. My continuing journey into therapeutic parenting and understanding the impact of trauma helps me every day at work – from thinking about how we can get the best outcomes for the people using our services, to ideas for service delivery, to supporting colleagues.

What is your favourite aspect of the role?
The people. We have some truly fantastic colleagues working for us and some really brave people using our services. It is satisfying to know that our wonderful colleagues are really making a difference to the lives of some of our most deprived and disadvantaged people. To think that someone supported by Inspire North is able to quickly re-establish links with their family and friends, make changes to improve their quality of life and gain their independence is a great motivator for me. Our impact can be truly life changing.

What do you think is the main challenge we face in supporting people to have a better life?
Cuts to social care over the past ten or so years have left many councils struggling to cope with demand and has put more pressure on health and other services. The incidence of mental distress is increasing across all our service user groups, but resources are diminishing, it’s a difficult circle to square! We need to innovate, do more of what works and less of what doesn’t, so measuring impact is becoming pressing.

What inspires/motivates you?
Knowing that change is possible and that we can and do make a difference. Responding positively and helpfully to those seeking for help, even if we don’t have all the answers, can be the difference between a few weeks/months needing support to years of feeling sidelined, unsupported and stuck. I also love thinking whole-system and am excited by the possibilities of service providers in health, social care and criminal justice working together with the third sector to deliver better outcomes for all.

Do you have a catchphrase or mantra and what is it?
My mantra is “look after yourself” because you can’t pour from an empty cup.

What’s your favourite hobby?
The hobby I am most committed to is running and exercise of some kind, as it really helps me to switch off. I completed my first triathlon in 2016 which involved swimming in Roundhay Lake, and since then I’ve entered a couple of triathlons a year. I even completed a standard distance in 2018 which was a 1500m swim, 36km bike and a 10k run on the end! I won’t be doing that again in a hurry, but it felt amazing when I finished.

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Donna Gooby

Director of People and Culture

Donna is responsible for the design and implementation of our HR strategy. Her role has a key responsibility for driving…


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Donna Gooby

Director of People and Culture

Donna is responsible for the design and implementation of our HR strategy. Her role has a key responsibility for driving employee culture and engagement and being a role model. She is constantly looking for opportunities to improve culture and to ensure we recruit and retain great people who share our values.


About Donna

What is your role within SLT and what are your main responsibilities?
My role involves a bit of everything and includes all elements of HR and Training, be it recruitment, training, performance management, line manager guidance, or just about anything else! I balance this alongside the more strategic aspects of the role, developing and delivering our HR strategy and acting as a member of the Senior Leadership Team.

Perhaps most importantly, my role has a key responsibility for driving culture and engagement and being a role model. I am constantly looking for opportunities to improve culture, and to ensure we recruit and retain great people who share our values.

I feel privileged to have the opportunity to create and implement strategies that will have a positive impact on individual careers and service delivery. A main focus at moment is culture building, making Inspire North a fun and enjoyable place to work for everyone.

Why did you choose to work for a third sector organisation?
The reason is the absolute passion our people have for making a positive difference – it inspires me. I believe people make the difference, not processes. I am lucky to work alongside an incredibly engaged group of people. I am very fortunate to genuinely love getting up for work every day. Life is too short to spend it dreading Monday mornings!

What skills and experiences have you brought from other roles?
A good HR professional knows their business inside out. The aspects that I really enjoy sharing are professional development opportunities, supporting people to realise their own value and potential. Being able to build diverse teams in the workplace and being able to make a difference makes me proud. Also developing opportunities which helps with team dynamics and getting people interacting positively.

What is your favourite aspect of the role?
I have great job satisfaction. For me personally it’s important to be able to input at the highest level, not just on HR matters but also more holistically when it comes to how we manage and develop the overall organisation. To fulfil my mission to help Inspire North group claim their spot as the employer of choice, as an engaged and skilled workforce can make such a difference to the results we achieve. I also enjoy employment law – so much is centred on it these days.

What do you think is the main challenge we face in supporting people to have a better life?
Attracting talent is something that all organisations need to work hard at. You can’t sit on your laurels and expect great talent to walk through your door. You have got to make sure you are working hard on your employer branding and reputation. Research shows that a skills shortage could risk a shortfall in workers with the right talents and abilities. Inspire North needs to continue attract star performers to ensure we carry on offering top class services.

What inspires/motivates you?
When I was at school I had a secret ambition (despite a serious lack of talent) to be a dancer! I now realise it wasn’t the glamorous lifestyle I was attracted to. What I wanted was to connect with others and use my imagination to make a difference to people’s lives.

These ideals still exist in what I do today as HR has a big role to play in employee engagement. If colleagues are happy and healthy, feel supported and enjoy what they do then they will also perform better in their role and deliver excellent services. I’m inspired and motivated by colleagues, volunteers and people who use our services succeeding, progressing and fulfilling their goals.

Do you have a catchphrase or mantra and what is it?
“I’ll get my magic wand” – I just want to do the best I job I possibly can and sometimes I need a little help!

What’s your favourite hobby?
I love to cook and experiment – sometimes it works and sometimes it’s burnt! I like everything about cooking, from planning what I’m going to cook, buying the ingredients, licking the bowl and enjoying the finished product. Cooking makes me feel calm and happy – when I cook I completely relax. There’s just about nothing that makes me happier than sharing food with family and friends.

Ed Browne

Director of Finance and Corporate Services

Ed is Director of Finance and Corporate Services for the Inspire North Group, responsible for managing Community Links financial affairs…


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Ed Browne

Director of Finance and Corporate Services

Ed is Director of Finance and Corporate Services for the Inspire North Group, responsible for managing Community Links financial affairs and corporate resources, including IT.


About Ed

Ed is Director of Finance and Corporate Services for the Inspire North Group, responsible for managing Foundation’s financial affairs and corporate resources, including IT.

Michelle de Souza

Director of Operations

Michelle is Inspire North’s Group Director of Operations, overseeing the day-to-day running of Community Links services.


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Michelle de Souza

Director of Operations

Michelle is Inspire North’s Group Director of Operations, overseeing the day-to-day running of Community Links services.


About Michelle

Michelle is Inspire North’s Group Director of Operations, overseeing the day-to-day running of Community Links services.

Sinéad Cregan

Director of Development and Innovation

Sinéad is responsible for leading Inspire North's drive to develop and grow in new ways as a leading provider of…


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Sinéad Cregan

Director of Development and Innovation

Sinéad is responsible for leading Inspire North's drive to develop and grow in new ways as a leading provider of mental health, wellbeing, housing and domestic abuse services.


About Sinéad

What is your role within SLT and what are your main responsibilities?
My role is to provide strategic and visionary leadership, ensuring Inspire North is at the forefront of pioneering practice at a national and regional level, offering effective, innovative and financially viable services to address the needs of the people who use our services and commissioners.

I also lead and drive the ambitions of Inspire North to develop and grow as a leading provider of mental health, wellbeing, housing and domestic abuse services across the north of England. I play a big part in the development of Inspire North’s culture through being a role model for the standards, values and behaviours expected.

Why did you choose to work for a third sector organisation?
I have chosen to work for Inspire North as I felt the values of the organisation are in line with mine as in, I strive to make a difference, do the right thing and ensure equality of opportunity is prevalent in all that we do. I started my career in the third sector in London, back in 1986, and I am so pleased to have returned. My last post as a Commissioning Manager will bring a different set of skills to this role, which should be advantageous.

What skills and experiences have you brought from other roles?
I have spent the last nineteen years with Leeds City Council in three roles, the last one being a Commissioning Manager for working age adults. Prior to that I worked in front-line services in areas covering mental health, substance misuse, residential rehabilitation, prisons and HIV. So I bring with me experience of service delivery and commissioning of services, which includes seeking new areas of development and innovative ways of provision.

What is your favourite aspect of the role?
Leading on development and innovation and getting to know our services.

What do you think is the main challenge we face in supporting people to have a better life?
Welfare reforms are having a huge impact on people, along with financial austerity that has reduced the level of funding available from local authorities, restricting and reducing the level of services.

What inspires/motivates you?
Making a difference to people and being effective.

Do you have a catchphrase or mantra and what is it?
Always be prepared to do the right thing even if it is unpopular – and be prepared to say sorry.

What’s your favourite hobby?
I love being outdoors, so I play tennis – badly. I enjoy walking my dogs. I like travel and have plans to visit some colder places over the next couple of years. I also really enjoy taking photos of the amazing countryside where I live in North Yorkshire, which I often post on Twitter.