Type of Fellowship: General
Year of Fellowship: 2013
Update Autumn 2013
How has this quarter been for you?
This quarter has been pretty challenging for me on a number of levels. I’ve had a lot of work to do as I finished up a report for my secondment, started my research and launched a report that I wrote for Shine on the impact of cancer on people in their 20s, 30s and 40s. I’ve had a really useful coaching session which covered ideas around purpose-driven leadership and also managing my time. Speaking to my coach made me realize that sometimes I need to question whether what I’m doing is helping me to fulfill my purpose. If it isn’t, I need to put it on the backburner; this isn’t something I do naturally as I tend to want to do everything at once.
I found the September residential challenging with some really useful elements (like the business canvas modeling and the networking sessions). I’m feeling sad that the residentials are over but I’m looking forward to the rest of my Action Learning Sets and hoping that we can keep these going after the external facilitation ends.
What’s been your greatest challenge?
Getting out of my own way! I’ve done quite a lot of reflection and thinking about the limits we put on ourselves and how we can hold ourselves back without meaning to. I’ve found that I’ve started to push myself out of my comfort zone more. This has been really challenging and sometimes scary but ultimately I think it’s paying off – I’ve done some things that I didn’t think I could do and I know that I won’t regret them. Being aware of where my comfort zone lies has also been useful. I think most of us have a tendency to operate within certain areas and not to question why that is. I’ve been lucky that through the Clore Social Fellowship I’ve had the space and time to identify where I operate best and to also consider how I can expand this.
What impact has your leadership been having?
On 26th September, Shine had a launch for a report that I wrote on the impact of cancer on adults in their 20s, 30s and 40s. I organised the launch with another Trustee and spoke at the event with two others. The evening was a great success in terms of raising Shine’s profile as well as the need for the work that we do. We’ve had a huge amount of positive feedback from people who were surprised at the lack of support available for younger adults and who are now inspired to get more closely involved with us. I believe that this event – together with all the other work we’re doing – will start to bring about real change for our target group.
In what way you are a better leader now than at the start of the Fellowship?
My ways of working with and through others has changed through the Fellowship. I’m much more willing and able to ask for help and to admit what I don’t know; before I spent a lot of time worried about looking stupid! I’ve given a lot of thought to how being a good leader means that you have to have an overview of everything that’s going on but doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to do everything yourself. Trusting and supporting others is really important and it’s something I’ve been experimenting with through the Fellowship.
Can you share an important lesson you’ve learnt?
Within the social sector I think that we get used to the idea that we need to do everything ourselves. We operate on tight budgets with limited resources but I’ve discovered that that doesn’t have to limit what we can achieve, especially when we can pool the collective expertise and resources of those around us.
How would you sum up your Clore Social Fellowship experience so far?
I’m really enjoying the opportunities presented by the Clore Social Fellowship and having the time and space to reflect on my work and my type of leadership. I’m more of a doer than a thinker so the reflection time has been challenging but really useful.
Personal website/ blog: www.shinecancersupport.org
Current principal role: Director
Current principal organisation: Shine Cancer Support
Other leadership role 1: Freelance Consultant
Other organisation 1: Working in the fields of patient experience & improving patient outcomes
Other leadership role 2: Trustee
Other organisation 2: Point of Care Foundation
Other leadership role 3: General Advisory Council Member
Other organisation 3: King's Fund
Research: Information and support needs of young men with cancer
Research topics: Health and well-being;
Secondment host: Centre for Patient Leadership