From globally renowned speakers and a Professor of Sustainability Leadership who is also a ‘Young Global Leader’ as a founder… to students who come from more than 130 countries around the world, IFLAS is making a name for itself.

The IFLAS Team

The small core team has a wealth of experience gained over many years working in the field in numerous sectors and parts of the world. This team is supported by many other people, both inside and outside the university – see below for more details on the team and some of the people we work most closely with. Details on the wider support network can be found here.

Professor Jem Bendell

IFLAS Founder: Professor Jem Bendell

Dr Jem Bendell is Professor of Sustainability Leadership and Founder of the Initiative for Leadership and Sustainability (IFLAS) at the University of Cumbria (UK).

Jem focuses on leadership and communications for social change, as well as approaches that may help humanity face climate-induced disruption. A graduate of the University of Cambridge, Jem had twenty years of experience in sustainable business and finance, as a researcher, educator, facilitator, advisor, & entrepreneur, having lived & worked in six countries. Clients for his strategy development included international corporations, UN agencies and international NGOs.

The World Economic Forum (WEF) recognised Professor Bendell as a Young Global Leader for his work on sustainable business alliances. With over 100 publications, including four books and five UN reports, he regularly appeared in international media on topics of sustainable business and finance, as well as currency innovation. His TEDx talk is the most watched online speech on complementary currencies.

In 2012 Professor Bendell co-authored the WEF report on the Sharing Economy. Previously he helped create innovative alliances, including the Marine Stewardship Council, to endorse sustainable fisheries and The Finance Innovation Lab, to promote sustainable finance. In 2007 he wrote a report for WWF on the responsibility of luxury brands, which appeared in over 50 newspapers and magazines worldwide, and inspired a number of entrepreneurs to create businesses in the luxury sector. That bio is all past tense, as now Jem has moved into a new phase of work in light of the latest climate science.

Dr David Murphy

Dr David F. Murphy is Senior Lecturer in Strategic Management & Collaboration and Academic Lead of the Initiative for Leadership and Sustainability (IFLAS) at the University of Cumbria in Ambleside.

Prior to joining the University, David was with the UN System Staff College (Turin, Italy) and The Partnering Initiative (Oxford, UK), and has extensive international experience in training senior executives working in business, government, NGOs,  and the UN, and undertaking related applied research and consultancy projects on partnership for sustainable development.  Dr Murphy, along with Professor Jem Bendell, co-wrote the first book on sustainability partnerships In the Company of Partners: Business, environmental groups and sustainable development post Rio (The Policy Press, 1997). 

David also co-authored Corporate Social Responsibility: Lessons from the South (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009) and is co-editor of Something to Believe in - Creating Trust and Hope in Organizations (Routledge, 2017).  He is currently the course leader the University of Cumbria’s Postgraduate Certificate in Sustainable Leadership and the MA Sustainable Leadership Development and book series editor of Citizenship and Sustainability in Organizations (Routeldge/Greenleaf).




Martin Pyrah

Administrative Officer

Martin provides administrative support to the Institute and the credit-bearing courses it runs. 


Phone: +44 (0)1539 430228

Chris Bell

Administrative Officer

Chris provides administrative support to the Institute and the credit-bearing courses it runs. 


Phone: +44 (0)1524 385440 (ext. 2615)

Dr. Raye Ng

Principal Lecturer, specialising in international business and cross-cultural management. Dr Ng is Programme Leader for the MBA programmes the University of Cumbria offers in conjunction with the Robert Kennedy College.

Dr Sarah Williams

Sarah is module co-ordinator for 'Tackling global-local challenges in ethics, responsibility and sustainability' which is the residency module for the specialist online MBA suite in partnership with Robert Kennedy College, Zurich. She joined the University of Cumbria in September 2019 after designing and managing a specialist MSc in Sustainable Business Management that was delivered across the global campus.

Sarah has over 30 years’ experience of working with business and public / voluntary sector partners, largely to develop and support environmental management programs. she is an experienced university lecturer who has embedded sustainability across a number of business and management modules. This encompasses how businesses respond and adapt to issues of environmental and social responsibility and ethics. Sarah is particularly interested in how businesses - of all shapes, sizes and sectors – respond and adapt to climate change and resource scarcity.


Jo Chaffer


For the last decade plus Jo has run a successful global portfolio of consultancy, development and research roles. Her work supports and enables development of organisations and people in the Higher Education and other sectors. Her client portfolio includes universities in the UK and over a dozen other countries, HE agencies and Ministries; additionally high growth start-ups, S Asian MNEs, UN organisations and non-profits.  

A qualified and experienced coach, facilitator, teacher and trainer Jo brings a wealth of skills and understanding for high support-high challenge professional relationships. 

Jo is a doctoral researcher in Leadership Development at the Institute for Leadership & Sustainability / Lancaster University where she also designs and delivers Level 7 and CPD modules. 

Having lived and worked in South Asia for nearly a decade, Jo has an expertise in cultural intelligence and bridging, bringing new perspectives and supporting collaboration, learning and partnership building across sectors and countries. She is also a mountain guide, leading groups up and around wild and remote places of the greater ranges. 


Dr Ian Chapman

Ian is a Senior Lecturer in Business and Economics, specialising in Sustainable Strategy, Creativity and New Product Development. 

Ian is also programme leader of the Aspiring Leaders Programme (ALP) which is run by The University of Cumbria, the Brathay Trust and Common Purpose. This undergraduate programme results in a Bachelors in Social Enterprise Leadership.

Dr. Grace Hurford, Visiting Lecturer

Before taking retirement in 2019, Grace was a Senior Lecturer in Management Studies, specialising in public sector leadership. With IFLAS, Dr Hurford lectured on leadership on our Masters level courses and bespoke courses.

Dr Hurford continues to lecture at the University of Cumbria as a visiting lecturer with the Institute for Business, Industry and Leadership (IBIL)

Richard Little, Visiting Professor

10th Anniversary Visiting Professor of Sustainability Leadership

Special interest in the application of critical social theory to questions of organisation and leadership for sustainability. 

Senior Consultant with Impact International: 35 years experience of organisation development consulting in every kind of organisation, including global corporations, government, non-governmental and public service organisations, charities and activist groups.

Professor Alison Marshall

Professor of Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Alison Marshall is Professor of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, University of Cumbria. She has worked in business, academia and consultancy at the interface between innovators, users and organisations throughout her working life. She has interests in the development and adoption of technology, supporting innovation and user engagement, at an individual, organisational and regional level.

Recent work has focussed on the distinctiveness of rural contexts, particularly how collaboration and partnerships develop to foster innovation and growth.

Professor Frank Peck

Frank is Professor of Regional Economic Development, and leads the Centre for Regional Economic Development. He supports IFLAS with teaching about Leadership of Place on the MBA programmes and in related short courses.


Arianna Briganti MA MSc is a development economist, practitioner and researcher specialising in the holistic growth and management of emerging economies. Her foci are on generative sustainable development, institutional development and living educational theory research. A development manager for initiatives implemented by both Governmental and non-Governmental organizations mainly in Asia, Africa and Eastern Europe, Arianna has worked extensively with the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Development Cooperation Unit) and is engaged with the German Government Agency for the International Development Cooperation. She co-founded and manages pro bono the non-profit organization Nove Onlus. She is currently collaborating with the Swedish foundation ‘Cultural Heritage without Borders’ in Albania and is a peer-reviewer of the Educational Journal of Living Theories. Her Ph.D. title is, ‘As a development economist how do I contribute to the establishment of the human capabilities of the people I work with in the developing countries?’ Her doctorate is being supervised by Professor Jack Whitehead, Dr. David F Murphy and Professor Moira Laidlaw.

Jo Chaffer, MADT, is a highly experienced global consultant, trainer and coach specialising in strategy, change and leadership with particular expertise in cultural bridging ( Jo's research interest is in developing leaders whose understanding of themselves and their role is constructed through socio-centric and eco-centric self-construal.  Jo's PHD working title is "Into the Wild: transformative journeys for (sustainable) leadership development." Professor Jem Bendell, Dr Kaz Stuart and Jamie McPhie are the advisors for this study. Jo brings together an academic background in outdoor experiential learning, Critical Leadership Studies and ecology alongside professional practice in supporting leaders of organisations in private, public and third sector organisations. She's also a mountain guide with many years climbing, biking and trekking in the higher ranges to call on.

Sonia Hutchison BSc is an expert in unpaid caring and non-profits having worked in the sector supporting carers and care-givers for over a decade. Chief Executive of a local UK carers' charity which has tripled in size under her leadership over the last 6 years and Development Executive of a small national UK charity supporting young carers with ambition and tenacity to succeed. Sonia has been recognised for her tireless work to improve the lives of carers and their families. Sonia is now researching how she has come to be a success in her career after starting of life in foster care where statistical predictions for life chances have remained stubbornly low to achieving both personally and for carers and their families. Her enquiry question is 'How does my lived experience, from being ‘a child in care’ to being a leader of a carers’ charity, sustain the hope that I can be the change I want to see in the world? Sonia has taken her research around the world presenting in the USA, Canada, South Africa and the UK. Sonia's supervision team for her doctorate are Professor Jack Whitehead, Dr. David F Murphy and Dr. Marie Huxtable.


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