Leadership Conference

Leading in the Digital Age

In 2019 the Centre for Army Leadership’s 2019 Conference: Leading in the Digital Age took place on 23 October at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.

1200 delegates from across defence and the civilian sector gathered to listen to some outstanding speakers, a series of exciting pop-up events and a final panel discussion in the afternoon.

About the conference

As the British Army’s major leadership conference, this event bought together leaders and academics from across the military and civilian worlds in order to explore the theme, discuss the challenges and consider the implications.

The Centre for Army Leadership 2019 Conference theme was ‘Leading in the Digital Age’. We examined the challenges and opportunities for leadership in the digital age, including examining a range of topics such as organisational structures, information flow, the role of power and authority, problem-solving, decision-making implications, personal development and emotional control. 

In today’s complex and rapidly changing world, leaders at every level need not only to be comfortable with the digital revolution but also have the skills to anticipate it, the ability to recognise its impact and the agility to adjust.

The Programme


  • Jamie Wheal (Co-Author of Stealing Fire and CEO of the Flow Genome Project)
  • Dr Mareike Möhlmann (Warwick Business School)
  • Dr Jochen Menges (Cambridge University)
  • Frank Dick (President of the European Athletics Coaching Association)
  • Dr Pippa Malmgren (CEO, Author and former Presidential Advisor)
  • Jaya Baloo (Singularity University)
  • Lieutenant General CL Tickell CBE - Deputy Chief of the General Staff

Pop-Up Workshops

  • WO1 Gavin Paton - Army Sergeant Major and our Soldiers
  • Bellingcat Investigation Team
  • Wavell Room Team - British Military Thought Website

Closing address

  • Major General Paul Nanson CBE, Director Leadership (Army)


Conference Speakers

Jamie Wheal (Co-Author of Stealing Fire and CEO of the Flow Genome Project)

Jamie Wheal is the Executive Director of the Flow Genome Project, co-author of the Pulitzer nominated global bestseller Stealing Fire and expert on peak performance and leadership. His work combines a background in expeditionary education, wilderness medicine, and surf rescue with expertise in the neuroscience and practical application of Flow States. In addition to over a decade of leading individual and group training, Jamie has advised executives at Google, Deloitte, Goldman Sachs, and Cisco. His trainings have extended to athletes and owners at Red Bull, the NFL, NBA, MLB and Premier League teams, as well as, The U.S. Naval War College, Special Operations Command, and The Green Berets.

Dr Pippa Malmgren (CEO, Author and former Presidential Advisor)

Dr. Malmgren served President George W. Bush in the White House and on The National Economic Council where she handled financial market issues and terrorism risks to the economy after 911. She co-founded H Robotics, a British firm that makes HiSight, a robust modular, SUAV drone system for commercial firms that need aerial intelligence, situational fluency, safety and deep data analytics. HiSight serves a wide range of industries including mining, oil and gas, insurance, construction and public safety. She serves on the Drone/UAV Committee of The British Standards Institute.Her recent book, The Leadership Lab, was named Business Book of the Year and Best Book on Leadership in 2019. She has been named one of the Fifty Tip Inspiring Women in the UK and one of the Top 100 in Tech by @WATC_WeAreTech. She serves as a judge on The Queen’s Enterprise Business Awards and is on the Board of The Department for International Trade in the UK. She won the Intelligence Squared Debate on Robotics. Forbes has called @DrPippaM a “Must Follow” on Twitter since 2015. She has a BA from Mount Vernon College and an M.Sc. and PhD from LSE. She completed the Harvard Program on National Security. She has lectured at Sandhurst, INSEAD, Duke Fuqua Global Executive MBA and the U Texas Austin. She gave the graduation address at the London School of Economics in 2013 and again in 2016.

Warrant Officer Class One Gavin Paton (British Army Sergeant Major)

WO1 Paton joined the British Army in late 1997 as a Light Infantryman. He has operated in Northern Ireland, Kosovo, Sierra Leone, Iraq and Afghanistan.

WO1 Paton has served at the Infantry Training Centre as a Corporal Instructor and as a Platoon Serjeant, was a Detachment Commander in the Anti-Tank Platoon and successfully competed both the Section Commanders and Platoon Serjeants Battle Courses in Brecon. Later in his career, WO1 Paton was selected to be a Colour Serjeant Instructor at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and returned again a few years later as a Company Serjeant Major.

After being the Regimental Serjeant Major of the 3rd Battalion, the Rifles, WO1 Paton was selected to attend the United States Command Sergeant Major Academy in Texas, USA, the first British Soldier since 1989. On return, he commissioned into the Rifles, was selected to be the first Field Army Sergeant Major and in November 2018 Paton was appointed as the second Sergeant Major of the Army in its history.

Dr Jochen Menges (Cambridge University)

Jochen Menges is a university lecturer at the University of Cambridge and a professor of leadership at the University of Zurich. His award-winning research explores how leaders can successfully inspire people to pursue collective goals and to work together in ways that contribute to their productivity, well-being and happiness. His work has been cited by leading media around the world and has been featured in two TEDx talks. Jochen has worked with a diverse set of companies and organisations including British Telecom, Google, Jaguar Land Rover, L'Oreal, Microsoft, Rolls-Royce, Save the Children, and The World Bank. He has taught at start-up incubators such as Plug & Play in Silicon Valley and The Venture Café Foundation in Boston, and he led a major employer quality assessment study, for which he gathered survey responses from more than 60,000 employees and evaluated more than 450 companies in Germany regarding their potential to attract and retain talent.

Jaya Baloo (Singularity University)

Jaya Baloo is the Chief Information Security Officer of KPN. She won the Cyber Security Executive of the year award in 2015. Jaya has 18 years of experience in information security, working mostly for global telecommunications companies such as Verizon and France Telecom. Jaya is also a frequent speaker at security conferences on subjects around lawful interception, mass surveillance, and cryptography. Jaya co founder of OpenBook; an open source, privacy-friendly, fun and honest social network that was launched in May 2019. Hear Jaya Baloo's thoughts on the future of privacy, cyber-security and the impact of quantum computing on both. What motivates hackers and how can we use this to strengthen innovation? Jaya will also explore the future of hyper-connectivity of all of the things which will bring greater capabilities but also further dependencies. Finally she will address what we must do as individuals, employees, and countries.

In the last few years, she has been named CISO of the year, top 100 CISOs globally, and top 100 Global Security Influencers. Her focus has been on secure network architecture where her work has ranged in areas from Lawful Interception, VoIP & Mobile Security, to designing national MPLS infrastructures, ISP architecture, as well as Quantum Communications networks. She has worked for numerous telecom providers, Verizon and France Telecom among others, and currently works for KPN Telecom in the Netherlands where she is the Chief Information Security Officer (CISO). A faculty member of Singularity university and a member of various infosec boards, she is always inspired about how much more there is to learn.

Frank Dick (President of the European Athletics Coaching Association)

As one of the country’s best and most consistently inspiring motivational speakers, Frank Dick is riding high on the outstanding results from his position as High Performance Director at SASCOC (South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee) where he was the consultant to South Africa's top coaches and athletes at the Rio Olympics and Paralympics. RSA achieved 10 medals with two Gold, six Silver & two bronze. Four of those medals were won in athletics, Franks area of expertise.

In 2016 Frank was invited by Eddie Jones to undertake a challenging position in the UK as strategic planning consultant for the England Rugby Leadership Team in preparation for the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan. He is also President of the European Athletics Coaches Association, Member of the IAAF Coaches Commission, as well as Chair (and architect) of the IAAF Academy.

Bellingcat Investigation Team

Bellingcat is a pioneering investigative website using open source information to investigate some of the most contentious issues of the last five years. It was set up in 2014 by Eliot Higgins, and rapidly gained prominence for its examination of the downing of MH17 over Ukraine. Other prominent investigations have included identifying the GRU agents behind the Skripal poisoning, uncovering the use of chemical weapons in Syria and examining Russian campaigns in both Ukraine and Syria.

Nick Waters is senior investigator for Bellingcat. His current work focuses on documenting and investigating the Saudi-led Coalition's air campaign in Yemen. His previous work has included examining the use of chemical weapons in Syria and the operation of commercial drones by sub-state actors in conflict. After a short service commission with 2 RIFLES, Nick left the Army in 2015 to complete an MA in Conflict, Security and Development at KCL before working as a commercial cyber threat intelligence analyst.

The Wavell Room

The Wavell Room is a contemporary defence think tank. It started in a queue for coffee at the UK’s Defence Academy. That terrible coffee that all military personnel are acquainted with. But the beverages aren’t the reason for our links to the Wavell Room; it was the conversations in the breaks between lectures discussing how the military needs to change and adapt to be ready for the next challenge, where it became clear we needed a space where those thoughts could grow and flourish.

Mareike Möhlmann (Warwick Business School)

Mareike Möhlmann is Assistant Professor of Information Systems & Management at Warwick Business School. Currently, she is also a teaching fellow at the London School of Economics. Previously she worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the Stern School of Business, New York University. She received her doctoral degree in Business Administration/Management at the University of Hamburg, Germany. Before starting her career in academia she worked in international governance (climate change/sustainability) for the United Nations (UNEP) in New York. Her work has been published in a number of academic journals and conference proceedings and featured in media outlets such as The Times, The Telegraph, the Financial Times, and the BBC.

Lieutenant General CL Tickell CBE - Deputy Chief of the General Staff

Lieutenant General Chris Tickell was commissioned into the Royal Engineers in 1983 and spent 6 years as a troop commander in Germany, Northern Ireland, UK, Botswana and Norway.  After Staff College and a tour in the MOD, he took command of 9 Parachute Squadron RE.  This included tours in Bosnia and Kosovo. 

As a Lieutenant Colonel he worked in the Operations Branch of the Army HQ, before taking command of 23 Engineer Regiment (Air Assault) in January 2003 as it deployed to Kuwait/Iraq for the Second Gulf War.  On promotion in 2005, he moved to the Directorate of Training.  He then attended the Higher Command and Staff Course.

He was promoted to Brigadier in 2007 and commanded 8 Force Engineer Brigade for 2 years; he deployed with his Headquarters to Afghanistan for the final 6 months.  After 2 years running the Army Staff Course, he returned to the MOD working for the Chief of Defence Personnel for 9 months.  He was promoted in 2013 and commanded the Army Recruiting and Training Division until October 2016.  He was the Army’s Director of Capability from then until Summer 2019.  He was promoted to Lieutenant General and became Deputy Chief of the General Staff in August 2019.

He was appointed an MBE in 2000, OBE in 2003 and CBE in 2010.

Partnership organisations

We are pleased to be working with the following organisations in bringing this conference together:

  • BT
  • Sandhurst Trust
  • IDG
  • Skarbek Associates
  • LMA - League Managers Association

A look back to the 2019 conference