This month we welcomed our new Chief Executive Officer, Lee Hemmings to our London Academy team, and in our first official article featuring Lee he shares some of his hopes for the future of Fight for Peace.
Lee carries a genuine energy and optimism for sport for development and a passion for supporting young people to build positive futures. It’s fair to say that these are qualities we value as an organisation, and that will help us continue to provide our services to young people in our communities.
He also brings a breadth of professional experience in commercial, product development and innovation, and is currently a Trustee at People in Harmony charity, and Non-Executive Director of St Albans Community Bank.
So, why the shift in Lee’s professional career, and what is it about Fight for Peace that compelled him to join the team?
“Before joining Fight for Peace I had two parts of my career journey, I was in finance for 20 years, and then I worked in the sports sector for another 10 years, mainly in the football industry,” Lee explained.
“I was excited about Fight for Peace’s mission, I really wanted to be a part of it and bring my skillset to the charity to help achieve that mission, as well as help sustain financial stability and growth.”
Our team strives to teach young people a range of transferable life skills through combat sports and personal development, and while these priorities remain at the forefront, our organisational values (Solidarity, Champion, Inspiring, Courage, Embracing) are also a key part of how we deliver our work.
“I’ve always been passionate about bringing people through and supporting them to be the best they can through developing themselves and their careers. So, this role captures the opportunity for me to empower, energise and engage, while remaining empathetic to the aims of the organisation” explained Lee.
“I want to make sure that everybody, including young people and staff can feel empowered to be the best they can be. Importantly, I don’t want to lose the empathy or the mission that the charity is built on to make sure we deliver this mission and never lose sight of it.”
Lee’s time working in the sport industry is also of much value, and through the years he has developed in other sectors, which he aims to transfer into his new leadership role.
“The CEO role requires having an overview of the business and development side of the charity and my history working in business was a big point,” Lee said.
“I’m excited at the fact that there are so many different parts of our work, and that they link together so nicely. Whether it’s the delivery of the mission, the fundraising, or it’s exploring new things we can do. Working with great people just brings everything together. This is what excites me the most, and this harmony is important in enabling us to continue bringing it all together,” he continued.
Lee also identifies the power of creating more awareness and visibility around our young people and communities, and the impact this can have on young people’s prospects.
“Canary Wharf is just down the road, and despite being only 4.3 miles from our Academy and flying over the home of boxing and UFC, what’s here can be worlds apart from something so close,” Lee expressed.
“I want to raise awareness within both the sporting and financial communities, I want people to know we have a facility that can develop athletes to the best they can be, while giving young people a pathway that will lead in a positive direction.”
We are optimistic that Lee’s leadership and perspective will provide a strong foundation for this growth in awareness of Fight for Peace to help ensure our young people’s talents can continue to thrive. This foundation will also support us to expand and grow other aspects of our work in order to provide more young people with some of the tools they need to become champions in the ring, and in life.