Meet our Social Leaders


Full list of Fellows
Judith Cross

Judith Cross

Type of Fellowship: Specialist
Year of Fellowship: 2013

Oak Foundation

Update Summer 2014

How have you found this quarter?

It has flown by. I have been really busy throwing myself into lots of things and am getting used to being able to say ‘yes’.

I’ve been on the London Business School MBA elective on Social Entrepreneurship. This course has been thought provoking and hard work travelling to London each week and not returning home until after midnight. It has however has increased my knowledge and learning around impact measurement, business models and perceptions of what a social enterprise is.

I have successfully also applied to UnLtd and been awarded Millennium Care Award funding to start up a social enterprise. I have received the ‘Do It’ grant to set up a business aimed at reducing loneliness and isolation in older people. My new venture is called ‘Grab a Grandparent’ and is about creating opportunities for older people and individuals and families without grandparents to be ‘matched’ based on shared geography and shared interests. The aim is to develop long-term family relationships which are mutually beneficial and improves the wellbeing of all those involved.

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

I have been involved in supporting the set up and running of House Party 2014 - a UK housing un-conference put together by Esther Foreman (2011 fellow) and Matt Leach – CEO of HACT.  I feel good that I took the initiative to make contact with Esther Foreman when she sent out an email looking for new associates. By doing this I positioned myself to be able to offer and pick up work for her on House Party 2014 enabling me to build my knowledge, skills, experience and contacts. This contributed to the success of the un-conference and helped Esther in the positive exposure The Social Change Agency got in building its reputation.

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

I am more collaborative now in the way that I work and in my attitude towards work and my position. I have the confidence to put myself forward and to make contacts with those I don’t know.

I am more trusting of the process and in utilising my contacts to aid introductions where I want them. This is a shift for me as I wouldn’t have wanted to use others for their contacts previously.

I feel calmer and happier and feel this has enhanced my leadership which has been commented on my fellow Fellows in my Action Learning Set. They have commented on how much I have changed since they first met me and how better able I am to challenge and stand up for what I think is right.

What’s an important lesson you’ve learnt so far during your Fellowship?

I have learnt that authenticity and passion for what you do is the key. If I don’t believe in something I won’t be able to sell it and will lose people as they will be able to spot this.

The power of the story is something else that I have learnt and that it isn’t only me who buys into something by the way it makes me feel. Balancing this with facts and figures is what will make something successful.

What have you learnt from your fellow Fellows?

The opportunity to work with Esther Foreman at House Party has been amazing and has enabled me to build my social media skills – managing The Social Change Agency twitter account.

I’ve been inspired by Njoki Yaxley’s passion for social housing and her drive and ambition to build more homes. It has made me remember why I came into the sector in the first place and to reflect on my journey in housing so far. Njoki is so open, warm and friendly and wanting to learn that it has been a pleasure getting to know her and to chat.

How would you sum up your Fellowship so far?

At the start of your Fellowship you will think you know what you want and where you are going. Think again. The opportunities, contacts, networks and learning you will be exposed to challenge, test and change you. It’s exciting, it’s thrilling and it’s scary, but it’s also amazing, wonderful and enlightening. Open yourself up to the possibility of what might be and you never know where you’ll end up.

Twitter: @judecross

Current principal role: Area Director
Current principal organisation: Thames Reach

Research: I Have a Name: Understanding the root causes of homelessness through storytelling
Research topics: Housing; Values;
Secondment host: Concern Universal

Contact us
0207 812 3770
5th Floor, Kings Place, 90 York Way
London, N19AG

Charity: 1136727
Reg: 7222275
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