Meet our Social Leaders


Full list of Fellows
Kate Swade

Kate Swade

Type of Fellowship: General
Year of Fellowship: 2013

Update Spring 2013

How have your first few months as a Fellow been?

I have been really enjoying the opportunity to take some time to reflect and really think about who I am and what I’m doing with my life, but now  I’m keen to get cracking. It has all linked in quite nicely to my work at Shared Assets. As an organisation we are thinking lots of big thoughts about the Commons as a concept, and that seems to chime nicely with thinking big thoughts about me as a concept!

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

I think I am definitely still a work in progress! But I am trying, and I think sometimes succeeding, in becoming a bit more reflective about how I am in certain situations and why I react the way I do.

What impact is your leadership having on your organisation?

The key achievement at work this quarter has been getting and delivering on our first piece of paid work – a piece of research for the Forestry Commission. At Shared Assets we’ve been thinking a lot about the ‘commons’ as a framework for achieving a fairer society. I’ve found myself talking to my friends about this, trying to ‘sell’ the idea to them; this is an unusual position for me to be in and I quite like it!

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt so far?

When I applied I thought that one of the key things I wanted to achieve was to increase my confidence levels, but I’ve realized that that’s not really the issue. It’s more about increasing how effective I am in certain situations, and confidence will come from that. It’s also interesting to think of myself as a ‘project’, and to think about how I want to develop myself as being something separate from the skills I might need to do a particular job.

What have you learned from your fellow Fellows?

The general support and encouragement and inspiration from the other Fellows has been one of the most amazing parts of the Fellowship so far. I am constantly amazed at how interesting and thoughtful they all are. On a practical note, though, Sinem Cakir introduced me to her ex boss at the City of London, which resulted in a useful and interesting conversation.

Twitter: @kateswade
Personal website/ blog: commonsandsystems.tumblr.com

Current principal role: Development Manager
Current principal organisation: Shared Assets
Other leadership role 1: Trustee & Chair of Estates Committee
Other organisation 1: Toynbee Hall

Research: Systems Thinking for Community Groups - an investigation
Research topics: Community development; Governance; Social enterprise;
Secondment host: Los Angeles River Revitalization Corporation

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