The Centre for Army Leadership

2018 Leadership Conference

Successfully Leading Through Change

This year the Centre for Army Leadership’s annual conference will be held at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst on the 8th of November. It is titled Successfully Leading Through Change.

About the conference

As the British Army’s major leadership conference, this event will bring together leadership students, practioners and theorists to improve their understanding of how leaders effectively lead their people and organisations through change.

In today’s constantly changing society, with Brexit only months away and the British Army and Defence managing dozens of complex change programmes, the topic is relevant to leaders at every level and in every sector of the UK.

The Programme

The Programme

The morning session of the conference, known as the Churchill Session, will see 750 delegates hear four experts present on their experiences and understanding of leading through change. It will be held in the Churchill Hall at Sandhurst.

The 150 delegates with tickets to the Le Marchant Session will then move to the historic Indian Army Memorial Room in Sandhurst’s Old College for lunch, followed by a tour of the Royal Military Academy to hear about how it has developed and mentored the British Army’s leaders over the last 250 years.

The 80 delegates with the more exclusive Robertson Session tickets will move to Robertson House, the home of the Centre for Army Leadership, for a VIP afternoon session. A panel of four distinguished guests will conduct a panel Q&A based on their experiences of leading change. This will be followed by workshop sessions that will explore the themes and lessons of the day.

You can find out more, including how to book tickets, in the tabs above.

The Churchill Session

The Churchill Session

All three tickets - Churchill, Le Marchant and Robertson - give the holder access to the morning Churchill Session.

During the Churchill Session, delegates will hear from four speakers who will talk about their personal experiences and research into leading through change.

  • Mr John Manzoni
  • Nik Gowing and Chris Langdon
  • Final Speaker - The identity of the final speaker will be announced nearer the event

Churchill tickets are available to MOD employees and only include access to the morning session of the conference, followed by tea and coffee after the event.

For Churchill ticket holders, the conference begins with registration at 0900 and finishes at 1330. To apply for a place, you must be a member of the British Armed Forces or the MOD civil service. MOD employees can register for a place at the conference below. You will need to access the booking site from MODNet in order to verify your identity.

See below for more information on each speaker and check out the tabs above to find out about tickets for the Le Marchant and Robertson Sessions which are open to civilian attendees.

The Le Marchant Session

The Le Marchant Session

Named after John Le Marchant, the founder of Sandhurst, Le Marchant tickets are available to civilian attendees. They includes access to the speakers at the morning Churchill Session as well as a private afternoon event.

After completing the Churchill Session, delegates with Le Marchant tickets will move to the Indian Army Memorial Room where a buffet lunch will be provided by chefs from the Royal Military Academy.

After lunch delegates will take part in a tour of Sandhurst's Old College grounds with expert guides from the Sandhurst Trust. The tour will give delegates the opportunity to visit the colleges, the Memorial Chapel and other iconic buildings to learn more about the leadership development activity that has been carried out on the site for over 200 years. The day will finish with tea and coffee.

For Le Marchant ticket holders the day begins with registration at Churchill Hall at 0900, includes lunch, and finishes at 1530. There are only 100 tickets available. You can book regular and concession tickets (for students and members of academic institutions) below through our partners, the Sandhurst Trust.

The Robertson Session

The Robertson Session

Field Marshall Sir William Robertson is the only soldier to have enlisted as a Private soldier and rise through every rank to Field Marshal. Robertson tickets are available to invited military and civilian VIPs, with a very limited number of civilian places available to be booked. It includes the full morning of the Churchill Session as well as a private VIP afternoon event in Robertson House.

After the morning session, delegates with Robertson Session tickets will move to Robertson House for a buffet lunch. This will be followed by a panel session with four senior panel members who will give their personal perspectives of leading through change before answering questions and taking part in a discussion with the delegates. The session will be chaired by Mr Tim McEwan, Fellow in Management Practise at Cambridge Judge Business School.

This year's panel includes:

  • Liz Nicholl CBE
  • Rt Hon Lord Bilimoria CBE
  • Lieutenant General Paul Jaques CBE
  • Sir Stephen Moss
  • Final Panel Member - The identity of the final panel member will be announced nearer the event

After the panel session there will be a workshop that will allow delegates to examine the issues and lessons of the day in order to draw the maximum personal and organisational benefit. The day will end with a summary from the British Army’s Director Leadership, Major General Paul Nanson, followed by tea and coffee.

For Robertson ticket holders, the day begins with registration at Churchill Hall at 0900, includes lunch, and finishes at 1730. There are only 7 tickets available, which can be booked through our partners the Sandhurst Trust below.

See below for more information on our panelists and how to book tickets to the Robertson Session.

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Liz Nicholl CBE

Liz Nicholl is the Chief Executive of UK Sport. Having joined UK Sport in 1999, she has played a pioneering role in the changes in the elite sport system in the UK.

For ten years, as the Director of Elite Sport, Liz led the work of UK Sport’s Performance Directorate, through the Sydney, Athens and Beijing Olympic and Paralympic cycles. Liz became the Chief Operating Officer in 2009 and was appointed to the CEO role in 2010. 

As CEO, Liz’s leadership responsibilities focus on investing the c£125m per annum which supports UK Sport’s key objectives of World Class Success and Major Event bidding and hosting.

Liz was at the heart of the changes in UK Sport which delivered a record breaking performance at Rio 2016, where the British Olympic and Paralympic teams finished second in the medal tables with 67 and 147 medals won respectively

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Rt Hon Lord Bilimoria CBE

Lord Bilimoria, whos grandfather was one of the first Indian officers to be commissioned at Sandhurst, is an Indian businessman, entrepreneur, Chancellor of the University of Birmingham and independent peer in the House of Lords.

As founder and Chairman of Cobra Beer he has lead his businesses through changes, large and small.

More about Lord Billimoria CBE

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Mr John Manzoni

Mr John Manzoni is the Permanent Secretary to the Cabinet Office and Chief Executive of the Civil Service.

Having spent over 30 years in the energy sector, including 24 years in BP, he has dealt with leading change in both the private and public sector.

More about John

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Nik Gowing

Nik Gowing is, with Chris Langdon, co-author of the recently published book Thinking the Unthinkable: A New Imperative for Leadership in The Digital Age. Their research shows that there are deep challenges to leaders’ capacity to deal with change and disruption.

In their presentation they will challenge leaders to ‘thrive on change’ and provide advice on how leaders can navigate and lead through today’s changes.

Nik Gowing is former News Broadcaster at the BBC and ITN and a Visiting Professor at King’s College London.

More about Nik

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Chris Langdon

Chris Langdon is, with Nik Gowing, co-author of the recently published book Thinking the Unthinkable: A New Imperative for Leadership in The Digital Age. Their research shows that there are deep challenges to leaders’ capacity to deal with change and disruption.

In their presentation they will challenge leaders to ‘thrive on change’ and provide advice on how leaders can navigate and lead through today’s changes.

Chris Langdon is head of reconciliation Through Film and the former Managing Director of the Oxford Research Group

More about Thinking the Unthinkable

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Sir Stephen Moss

Sir Stephen Moss is a nurse by background and has over thirty years’ experience in posts at Board level including Chief Nurse, Chief Executive, Non- Executive Director and Chairman.

In 2009 he was asked to undertake the role of Chairman at Mid-Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust, tasked with leading the changes required following the highly critical report from the Healthcare Commission.

Until 2014 he was Chairman of the Department of Health Human Factors Reference Group, leading change in clinical team across the NHS.


Lieutenant General Paul Jaques CBE

Lieutenant General Paul Jaques is Chief of Materiel (Land) and Quartermaster-General to the Forces.

Commissioned into the Royal Mechanical and Electrical Engineers, he has worked in the Army, the MOD and at Defence Equipment and Support.

In these roles he has been intimately involved in change programmes across the MOD’s acquisition programme.

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How to book tickets

Churchill Sessions for MOD Personnel - Free - Click here on MODNet (using Google Chrome)

Le Marchant Tickets - Concessions Only - £100 - Click here   

Le Marchant Tickets - Regular - £200 - Click here 

Robertson Tickets - Regular - £750 - Click here 

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Proceedings of the 2017 CAL Conference

On the 8 November 2017, 80 delegates from across the military, public sector, business and academic world met at the Centre for Army Leadership at Robertson House in the grounds of the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. They gathered for the Centre's inaugural leadership conference titled: The Role of Leaders in Building a Culture of Moral Courage.

You can download the proceedings of the conference below.