Type of Fellowship: Specialist
Year of Fellowship: 2014
How have the last few months been, Louise?
It's been a busy few months getting back into the swing of things at work after my secondment and throwing myself in at the deep end with my research. I have been to Denmark and Sweden to investigate city approaches to sustainable housing development and discovered a far more fascinating approach to sustainable living in cities that promote the needs of people. I have been exceptionally grateful for the fantastic enthusiasm from individuals across the board in supporting my methodology for the research and am excited for the final results.
What has been your greatest challenge?
Timing is always a challenge. With numerous Fellowship activities on-going, work and my voluntary and other commitments it's always a question of compromise, priorities and balance. The transition between the day to day, being a mom and then thinking strategically at board or immersing myself in research has been a long lesson to learn but I am starting to really enjoy the diversity it all brings to my daily activities.
In what way you are a better leader now than at the start of the Fellowship?
I am less concerned with how others view me which has meant that I feel more comfortable in voicing my opinion, particularly when contrary to others. I now know that there are ways of doing this whilst not burning bridges with people along the way. For me the past few months have been about measure and balance, getting it right is key to getting people on board with you and making sure you can make progress where it’s needed now and saving some for later.
Tell us about an important lesson you’ve learnt so far.
A key lesson for me at the moment is the value of having a broad perspective and considering others’ points of view, not just thinking about what would be a good outcome now, but what’s best for the group? What can we achieve now and what can wait? It really is a skill to to detach yourself from an emotional response to consider the view or perceptions of others and to pause and consider the implications of your words and actions. I listened to a podcast recently on being pro-active and not reactive and there’s a four second rule in it. It takes five occasions for it to sink it but it works- it’s a great reminder which can bring clarity, focus and objectivity particularly where an immediate response could be counter-productive.
What have you learned from your fellow Fellows?
A small group of us have been organising a self led residential in order to bring the group together and think about next steps post-Clore Social and how we can continue the support of each other over the following years. I hope this will enable us to continue learning from each other for the foreseeable future.
Personal website/ blog: shouldbeapriority.blogspot.co.uk/
Current principal role: Awards Manager and Building Futures Lead
Current principal organisation: UnLtd
Other leadership role 1: Trustee
Other organisation 1: Trident Reach the People Charity
Other leadership role 2: Group Board Member
Other organisation 2: Trident Social Investment Group
Research: Sustainable living and community housing concepts: The UK housing crisis and what we can learn from models in Freiberg & Copenhagen.
Research topics: Housing; Social enterprise; Social investment;
Secondment host: Big Issue Invest