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Emma Frew

Emma Frew

Type of Fellowship: Specialist
Year of Fellowship: 2015

North East Fellow (Garfield Weston Foundation)

How have the first few months of your Fellowship been, Emma?

The residential in Poole was a great start to the year and really felt like it was the start of a new journey. The Action Learning Sets are a completely new way of working for me. I’m finding it a challenge not to give solutions, but I love the outcome of not owning the problem and then hearing how others deal with their problems. I am now looking forward to training as an Action Learning Facilitator later this year. I have done a lot of reading about the training that is out there and its opening my eyes to new ways of thinking. I am exploring mindfulness and the laws of attraction as well as reading about social enterprise in the north east.

What has been your greatest challenge?

Work has been extremely busy and challenging. We have won three new advice contracts and have had to implement them ready for the beginning of this month, including new offices and communication systems. This has left little time for anything else, but once I sat down and worked through my development plan I felt that I had actually done quite a bit in the first quarter.

How has your leadership been having an impact on those you work with?

Mobilising the new contracts has been challenging and I’ve had to produce lots of information for both the Local Authority and my Board. I have had a much stronger approach in communicating with my Board and ensuring that they work to the very tight time-frame and remain focused at a strategic level. This has included a development day with them, focussing on 2018 onwards, which felt positive and 'real'.

In what way you are a better leader now than at the start of the Fellowship?

I have negotiated the terms of the new contracts to negate the risk to ShARP (Shiney Advice and Resource Project). I think my staff team have a greater respect for me in achieving our goals without any stakeholders losing face. I have also seen a significant shift in my ability to manage stress.  I haven't met every deadline for every piece of work, but I’ve managed my workload well and I have been the best that I can be - and I’m happy with that.

What have you learnt from your fellow Fellows?

The workshop at the beginning of first our Action Learning Set was such an eye opener. The people in my group are truly amazing. They have all been through so much and have been so courageous and resilient in coming through their experiences as well-rounded people. The desire for continuously learning is apparent in all of them, as is a warmness and openness. I also have learned that I quite like Autumns even though I am a Spring/Winter!

What are the most important lessons you’ve taken from your Fellowship so far?

The world won’t end if I don't achieve every deadline I set for myself. Take time to reflect and write things down. Don't try to spot opportunities in everything: choose more wisely.

Current principal role: Full time Fellow
Current principal organisation: Social Enterprise Acumen
Other leadership role 1: Community Development Consultant
Other organisation 1: Communities Can

Research: Leadership in times of austerity: What makes a successful leader who bucks the trend in times of austerity?
Research topics: Leadership; Social enterprise;

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