The Team 5

Influencing Sustainable Leadership

Sherrington was inspired by a passion for purposeful business. We build partnerships with clients to support their long-term strategic aims with winning leadership talent.

Sherrington began life as a boutique executive search business, founded by Rob and Joanne in 2014 with the original mantra of ‘Optimising Leadership’. Recruiting senior managers and directors and coaching them to become the most effective leaders they can be for our clients’ organisations were our core services for many years.

Then in 2018 with the support of a leadership coach, realising our shared value for sustainability, we repurposed the business to provide end-to-end support for culture change programmes, specifically supporting clients wanting to embed sustainability as a core culture across the organisation. ‘Influencing Sustainable Leadership’ became our new purpose.

We believe that business can be a force for good but to effect positive change, you need the right leaders with the right qualities for sustainable leadership. We support our clients by diagnosing culture, developing and executing improvement / transformation strategies and recruiting and coaching leaders and managers with the right understanding of what it means to be a sustainable business.

If you can’t explain as a company what you are doing to make this a better world, you have no reason for being.

Former CEO of Unilever Paul Polman

We know that by recruiting senior leaders with the right experience and values to align with our clients’ culture, we can help them realise their purpose, thereby in turn, achieving our own...
‘Influencing sustainable leadership’

Our Impact

Sustainable leadership is our core business so it’s crucial we live up to the high standards expected of a business that advocates for better corporate sustainability. This is why in 2022 we started the accreditation process to become a certified B Corp. The news that we’d certified came on Christmas Day 2023 and we couldn’t have been more delighted. Becoming a certified B Corp is testament of our commitment to use business as a force for good. We are proud to be part of this growing, global movement of purposeful B Corp businesses.

Measuring our impact through the B Corp framework has meant aligning our work to the UN Sustainability Goals. Because we work with clients across diverse sectors, our indirect impact supports virtually all of the seventeen goals, however recent analysis showed that the three goals we align with most closely are SDG’s 8, 15 and 17.

While we work through the B-Corp process, here’s some of the initiatives we’ve undertaken to become more sustainable and support our clients and communities since 2020...

2021-2022 Timeline of Events & Achievements
  • Since the global pandemic began in March 2020, Sherrington has donated over 100 coaching hours to leaders and senior managers who have either been made redundant or found themselves in times of career crisis.
  • During the pandemic, Sherrington provided significant discounts for recruitment and coaching for charities in need including The Land Trust, Chester Zoo, Active Cheshire, Changing Lives Together and Passion for Learning.
  • In March 2020 at the start of the global pandemic, Rob was approached by the Cheshire Community Foundation to help recruit a team of influential leaders to coordinate activities between private, public and third sector stakeholders all attempting to tackle spiralling poverty in the region. Rob helped assemble the Cheshire West Impact Group and chaired the committee for one year. Sherrington then pledged support by joining the ‘Cheshire 100’ – a group of supportive businesses who commit an annual donation to fund CCF’s essential work.
  • In 2021, we joined purposeful business membership association ‘Cheshire for Good’, part of the wider ‘UK for Good’ collective of ethical businesses. Sherrington have supported since the beginning and are proud to be one of a growing number of purposeful businesses to pledge support.
  • In March 2022, Sherrington Associates donated £5,000 to Chester Zoo’s Race for the Rainforest campaign, money that will directly fund a major reforestation project in Borneo, protecting the habitats of numerous endangered species. This donation was further enhanced with another £900 raised by Joe who ascended the UK’s three highest peaks in under 24 hours for the cause.
  • In April 2022 we were proud to become an official signatory of the Better Business Act. The act is a business-led campaign, supported by over 1,000 UK businesses to force UK government to mandate responsible business practice via an amendment to Section 172 of the Companies Act, aligning People, Planet and Profit as equal pillars of organizational purpose. On March 20th Sherrington’s Managing Director Rob McKay and Executive Resourcer Joe Onions attended parliament along with representatives from other signatory businesses for talks with MPs and to encourage government to endorse the act in the forthcoming Queen’s speech.
  • In April 2022 Sherrington officially became a carbon positive! We are now removing more carbon from the atmosphere than we are emitting. This thanks to Joanne's work with Ecologi, a new carbon-offsetting initiative that helps businesses like Sherrington to calculate their carbon footprint and take action to reduce it, whilst offsetting emissions through tree-planting projects across the globe.
2022-2023 Timeline of Events & Achievements
  • In August 2022 we were retained by Hospice of the Good Shepherd to find a new Chair of the Board. With core values of compassion, dignity, respect and integrity running through all aspects of the work they do to provide end of life care, we were proud to partner with them and offer our reduced rates for charities.
  • In September 2022, we worked with Changing Lives Together, a registered charity and social enterprise in Cheshire, to appoint a new CEO. CLT’s mission is to find innovative solutions for environmental and social challenges which benefit local communities. Read more about this search here.
  • In September 2022, Joanne submitted our B Impact Assessment in our journey to becoming a certified B-Corp. Certified B-Corporations are businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose. We look forward to continuing this journey and successful certification!
  • In September 2022, Joe completed the new ‘Certificate in Sustainable Leadership’ at the University of Chester. With professional development at the core of how we support our staff and partners, the course provided useful context for much of the work we deliver to climate conscious clients. Read more here.
  • In October 2022, we renewed our annual subscription and donation to the Cheshire Community Foundations’ ‘Cheshire 100 Club’ continuing to support the foundation in their essential work. Rob continues to serve on CCF’s Cheshire West Impact Group, working with other business and third sector leaders to tackle poverty in the local area. Read about CCF’s work here.
  • In October 2022 we partnered with the British Hydropower Association to recruit their new CEO. As the leading trade association representing the interests of the UK hydropower industry (including tidal), the BHA’s work is crucial, influencing the conditions for growth of the hydropower and tidal sectors and supporting decarbonisation through investment of some of the cleanest forms of renewable energy available. Read more about this search here.
  • In October 2022 we completed a procurement exercise to identify new executive search software that could support our aspirations to achieve stronger equity within our research. After considering several options, we selected cutting edge executive search software platform Talentis. Research has shown that male candidates tend to have more keywords on their Linkedin profiles than female candidates. TalentisTM supplements candidate profiles using augmented keywords to help us overcome bias and underrepresentation within our research. Read more here.
  • In November 2022 Rob was appointed to the Board of Trustees at local charity Cheshire Connect. Cheshire Connect was founded by former Lord Lieutenant David Briggs in 2013 to provide strategic matchmaking between charities and volunteering businesses as well as delivering leadership training for CEO’s in the sector. Read more about their work here.
  • In December 2022, we were proud to work with leading sustainable construction business DB Group to assemble their new sales team for their innovative eco-tech subsidiary Cemfree who manufacture a ground-breaking cement-free alternative to conventional concrete. Introduced in 2015, Cemfree have introduced an ultra-low-carbon concrete technology to the market, achieving dramatic carbon savings of up to 80% compared to conventional concrete. Read more about this search project here.
  • In January 2023, Joe completed his Barrett Values Centre training in culture diagnostics, enabling him to support our clients through the use of BVC tools and analytics. By helping clients to accurately diagnose their culture and values, Joe and the team are better equipped to achieve stronger values alignment through our recruitment work. Read more about our work with Barrett here.
  • In February 2023, Rob ad Joe participated in the UK for Good’s ‘Business for Good festival’, with Rob speaking on ‘Values Leadership’ and Joe leading masterclass workshops on ‘Sustainable Leadership for a Sustainable World’. Read more here.
  • In February 2023 we joined the Institute of Neurodiversity, supporting their mission and ethos to help neurominorities to thrive and prosper and advocate for equality. Read about ION’s work here.
  • In March 2023, Joe produced a thought leadership piece discussing how boardroom neurodiversity supports sustainable leadership, speaking with contributors, the Chair of the Institute of Neurodiversity, CEO of The Brain Charity and CEO of the ADHD Foundation. Read the article here.
  • In February 2023, Sherrington were proud to sponsor both the Good Governance Award and Best ESG Initiative at the Trade Association Forum Awards. Read more here.
  • In March 2023, we were thrilled to win the People Centred Leadership Award at the national Good Small Business Awards, also being shortlisted for the overall Good Small Business of the Year Award. Having worked so hard over the years to develop a business that is genuinely making a positive impact in the world, to receive this award is just recognition for our tireless efforts to live and breathe our values of authenticity, ethicality, tenacity and being partnerships orientated. Read more here.
  • In April 2023, Joe reached the finals of the High Sherriff’s Enterprise Awards, in the Young Business Person of the Year category. Joe's passion and enthusiasm for building a career in the business has made a positive impact and deserved to be recognised and his work ethic, honesty and genuine passion to make a positive impact in the world have been inspiring to witness. Read more here.
  • In May 2023, we partnered with Fera Science (The Food and Environment Research Agency) to recruit key roles across both their sales and bids teams. Fera are pioneers in original thinking applied, driving innovative products and techniques to identify and detect emerging threats earlier across agri-food science, including coping with the impact of global population growth and the need to make sustainable use of natural resources. Read more about this work here.
  • In May 2023, we partnered with multi-award-winning charity Active Cheshire, to appoint five new members to their board of trustees. We are now working with them to develop a succession plan for other roles as they arise on the board. After seeing his potential during the recruitment process, Active Cheshire also appointed our own Joe Onions to a role on the board as a trustee and youth representative, work that Joe carries out as part of Sherrington’s annual volunteering allowance scheme. Read more about this work here.
  • In July 2023 Joe was also invited to become a member of Cheshire Constabulary’s Independent Ethics Panel, selected as part of a competitive process to provide independent review and scrutiny of ethics in the police service to help inform the work of Cheshire Constabulary and the Police & Crime Commissioner.
  • It’s been an incredibly busy and exciting year for Sherrington Associates, however our proudest moment by far was in July 2023, when after several years of work behind-the-scenes, painstaking research and significant investment, we were delighted to launch our ‘4A Model of Sustainable Leadership’, a ground-breaking, evidence-based, consensus model of sustainable leadership, designed to transform the way recruiters and employers assess leadership candidates for their potential to deliver sustainability.
  • Simultaneously we were thrilled to launch our new ‘Future Sustainable Leaders Programme’, supporting clients to proactively plan future leadership recruitment, achieve cultural alignment earlier and develop a more sustainable leadership talent pipeline.