The Learn to Lead Journey

The Learn To Lead journey started in 1996 when a Cambridge University law graduate was on a training contract at a top law firm in Los Angeles.  There, he received specialist training on self-leadership. He realised that all too often the essential skills and knowledge needed to be effective in most working environments tended to be reserved for those in elite circles or with large quantities of money. Motivated by a belief that leadership is for everyone, he returned to the UK in order to make sure that young people had fair access to the skills that they deserved to learn.

A Journey

Pooling the expertise of a range of professionals and thinkers, he developed a curriculum that cultivated in young people the skills they would need in order to lead others and more importantly, themselves. Some of these skills included effective communication, time management, empathy and understanding for others, problem solving, creativity, self confidence, aspirational thinking and the ability to interpret body language.

With a vision in mind, a team of volunteers and mentors were banded together by the belief that all young people can be leaders today, as well as of tomorrow. Their aims were to reach out to anyone willing to learn in order to deliver a programme of training that was experiential, engaging, meaningful and applicable to daily life. The first Learn to Lead programme was delivered in Sheffield in 1997 and the results were transformational. Students from all walks of life felt more motivated, confident and able to understand the people they worked with at a human level. Students’ eagerness to stay involved, passion for learning and desire to pass on their experience to others flourished into a successful mentoring scheme where students were teaching young people of a similar age group.

To this day, Learn to Lead is still going strong and continually improving how it offers students meaningful, engaging and esteem-building programmes. The Learn to Lead team now has a dedicated core staff of trainers and mentors delivering programmes across the UK and increasingly, in different parts of the world.  In this way, Learn to Lead has now produced over 1000 alumni, many of whom are making a difference in the world, and some whom have given testimonials about the impact of the programme on their work and personal lives.

Learn to Lead continues to be driven by the core belief that young people are the most valuable asset in any society. It works to nurture the idealism and skills-base of young people so that they may reach their full potential.  We have seen that this approach helps them to blossom in a way that allows them to lead society effectively in an ever changing world.

Our Members

Krish Raval

Krish Raval


Krish remains the driving force behind Learn to Lead after setting it up in 1996. He is a leadership trainer and coach who works with many well known educational and corporate organisations.

Krish works to develop the leadership of young people because he believes that their idealism holds the answer to many of the world’s problems. He loves seeing young people change and develop before his eyes during Learn to Lead programmes and is always working to ensure even more young people experience this positive change.

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Denny Braggins

Denny Braggins

Chief Operating Officer

Denny discovered Learn to Lead at Sheffield University, having just returned to the UK from 6 years of studying in Singapore – a time when he was readjusting to a new lifestyle and finding a way to make a positive impact on society.

The idea of service and outreach is central to Denny’s philosophy so the programme holds a lot of meaning for him. He had been working with a corporate training organisation but joined the L2L team to offer his operational and logistics skills in order to design and deliver leadership programmes for a range new audiences.

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Gemma Perkins

Gemma Perkins

Director of 16-18 provision

Gemma joined the Learn to Lead team from Peaks College in 2006. Amazed at the difference the program made to her life, she became determined to mentor and train other students.

Gemma is now a qualified teacher who strongly believes that self-leadership should be a vital aspect of any educational curriculum – regardless of age. She has a passion for teaching and learning and loves to see the critical growth moment when a young person meaningfully applies their knowledge to their everyday life.

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Dave joined Learn to Lead from the University of Sheffield in 2004. He found that the program highlighted how much there was to appreciate in life as well as giving him the confidence and skills to reach his goals. Dave continues working with young people to share his knowledge and inspire them to be the best they can be.

Dave Meadows

Senior Mentor

Scott became a mentor in 2003 from Firth Park Community Arts College. He is determined to continue developing his skills and using his knowledge to help other young people do the same. Scott relishes in supporting our students through challenging life situations and solutions.

Scott Darby

Senior Mentor

Jess became part of the team in 2009 from Longley Park Sixth Form. With a background in psychology and counselling, Jess enjoys getting to understand people at a deep level. This allows her to personally support students in applying their new skills in tailored way, helping them achieve their own potential.

Jess Adams

Senior Mentor

Logan has been a Learn To Lead mentor since 2009 after taking part at Longley Park Sixth Form and enjoying the positive atmosphere that the programme created. As a teacher, he loves being part of a process that allows students to undergo a significant journey of self-discovery and personal development.

Logan Daniels

Senior Mentor

Adam joined the team from Hillsborough College in 2007. He is passionate about the message that Learn To Lead promotes: Leadership starts with yourself. Adam enjoys mentoring, as the learning and development provided opens up doors, embraces opportunities and makes life wholly better for everyone involved.

Adam Papka

Senior Mentor

Karen has been a mentor and trainer with us since 2001 after studying at Sheffield Hallam University. She found that through the support of inspiring people she discovered her own personality, values and potential. This motivated Karen to coach other young people and support them as they begin to find themselves.

Karen Belgians

Senior Mentor

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