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Leadership development for professional association leaders is rare. The BDA is at the forefront of developing its own members with a unique programme, developed by us and approved by the Institute for Leadership and Management.

Professional associations are led (governed) through formal structures made up of members and non- members who provide strategic leadership and direction. It is widely recognised that diversity at the most senior levels of organisations helps improve the way they are run and managed. Increasing diversity within the governance of the BDA (i.e. our Board/ Council and Committee structures) is essential for us to stay informed and responsive and to navigate the fast-paced and complex changes facing this sector. Boards whose members have different backgrounds and experience are more likely to encourage debate and to make better decisions.

“From a personal perspective, it’s given me the confidence to realise that there is no ‘right time’ or ‘stage of career’ to engage in leadership opportunities, but that we are all continuously learning and developing our leadership skills.”

It is recognised that member associations have overwhelming gender and racial bias and do not represent our professions. We are committed to making improvements in the governance of the BDA and we are funding access to a leadership programme which will support members to take on strategic leadership roles within the BDA. This programme covers strategic corporate issues such as finance, governance, leadership skills, risk management and many other aspects that will help prepare you to become more involved in your association.

This leadership programme will see you take on a six month programme, alongside Future Leaders from other professions. Using expert tutors you will cover high level strategic topics covering strategic finance, good governance, leadership skills, diversity training and much more.

“My experiences of the BDA Future Leaders programme is really helping me on the first step of that journey - becoming a better leader. Sharing experiences with other likeminded professionals and discussing topics from self-development to management and strategy within an organisation such as the BDA is enabling me develop a broader understanding of what I need to do to achieve my goals.”

How to apply

Future Leader Programme applicants must be available for one of the four dates that each module is run. Attendance is required for only one of the date options but satisfactory completion of the Programme is dependent on attending each module during the year. 

The confirmed dates for all five modules are:


Equality, Diversity & Inclusivity in Context of Association Leadership

Friday 4 March

Friday 22 April

Thursday 9 June

Friday 14 October


Finance & Risk for Professional Association Leaders

Thursday 17 February

Thursday 12 May

Tuesday 14 June

Tuesday 11 October


Leadership & Personal Development 

Tuesday 8 February

Tuesday 3 May

Thursday 7 July

Tuesday 22 November


Professional Association Governance 1



Professional Association Governance 2



We welcome applications from all members but we especially welcome members from black and minority ethnic groups, LGBTQI+ communities as well as members with disabilities.

To apply, please send your CV and covering letter to CEO Andy Burman by Friday 10 December 2021, telling us:

  • why you would like to attend the Future Leaders Programme, and
  • what you feel you could contribute to the BDA once you have completed it

Enquiries for further information are also welcome.

(Please note: non BDA members should apply through the AHPF website here)

Find out more about the programme, including learning outcomes and course content.

“It’s been an honour to feel valued as a member and be included in the programme, which makes me want to give back to an organisation that I value even more now I understand some of the complexities in how it’s run!”