Belfast man appointed new CEO of Young Social Innovators

Roger Warnock

BELFAST man Roger Warnock has been appointed as the new chief executive of Young Social Innovators (YSI), the not-for-profit body that empowers young people to create innovative solutions to social challenges. He will succeed outgoing CEO Rachel Collier in January.

Roger has more than 20 years’ experience in social enterprise and social innovation, and a wide range of experience in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors.

His early career was shaped by working with a social enterprise in Northern Ireland, and working voluntarily helping young people set up social enterprises through the Prince's Trust business start-up programmes.

In 2013, he took a secondment within the Department for the Economy at Stormont where he wrote a social innovation strategy for the region entitled ‘Harnessing the Power of Social innovation to Drive the Northern Ireland Economy’.

This was later used by the Young Foundation, an internationally renowned social innovation think tank, to set up operations in Northern Ireland.

Mr Warnock led the Young Foundation team in Ireland on its signature Amplify NI programme, accelerating over 45 social enterprises and social innovations between 2016 and 2018.

He was also responsible for partnering with Belfast City Council on its innovative social innovation programme (2017-2018) and Credit Suisse designing the successful Amplify Youth programme (2018) that supported young social innovators in London, Dublin and Belfast.

In 2016 he was listed as one of the UK's top 50 ‘New Radicals’ by Nesta and The Observer (2016). In addition, he was a Clore Social Leader Fellow (2016), a Churchill Fellow for social innovation and entrepreneurship in young people (2013), a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, and a British Council Hammamet Fellow speaking on social innovation and ‘tech for good’ at the 2018 and 2019 Hammamet conferences in North Africa.

Mr Warnock will leave his role as managing director of The Zano Collective, which he founded, to take up his new post with Young Social Innovators.

Gerry Fitzpatrick, chair of the board of Young Social Innovators, said: “Roger brings over 20 years’ experience in social innovation and entrepreneurship and in creating transformative change through his roles providing effective leadership, innovative programme design and start-up support, as well as in advisory capacities within the non-profit, public and private sectors.

“He has also worked with and alongside international organisations creating entrepreneurial teams, scaling new initiatives, developing new strategies and facilitating co-creation of solutions in local communities with young people. We are looking forward to seeing where his expertise and leadership will bring Young Social Innovators.”

Mr Warnock said: “I'm delighted to take up my new role at YSI, an organisation I’ve long admired and found very inspirational over its 21-year history. I’m particularly excited to join the organisation when we are back hosting in-person events, and I can’t wait to experience the energy of young people delivering their social innovation projects and solutions for a better future.”

Paying tribute to his predecessor Rachel Collier, he added: “She has been an incredible champion for young people over the last 21 years. Her legacy as a remarkable leader and trailblazer in the youth social innovation space in Ireland and beyond is remarkable. I’m looking forward to working with the passionate and talented YSI team, Board and stakeholders for this new chapter of YSI.”