Type of Fellowship: Specialist
Year of Fellowship: 2011
The Calouste Gulbenkian Fellowship for an aspiring leader committed to innovative approaches to policy and practical work with people experiencing multiple needs and exclusions.
Update December 2012
The final quarter of my Fellowship has really involved sucking every last drop from the experience! I have completed my research into social enterprise and homelessness, and I’m looking forward to sharing that research with the practitioners who took part, and hopefully influencing future policy and practice.
I have undertaken some great training on presentation and stage presence from actor Richard Hahlo. And I really wanted to finish with an experience that would challenge my perceptions again so I’m booked to go to Israel and Palestine on a Leaders Quest to investigate how enterprise is being used to address the social problems faced by the region.
My two years as a Clore Social Fellow have been life changing. Each part of the programme has had an impact, but there are five things in particular which played a really significant part:
1. The gift of time to reflect on my skills, experience and goals. My natural inclination is to jump straight into doing something, and being forced to reflect was both challenging and beneficial. It gave me the opportunity to look at what I’m good at doing (starting things and connecting things) and the best way to use my strengths to achieve social impact.
2. The inspiration, friendship and support of the Clore Social Fellows. It has been a huge privilege to share so much time with such an amazing group of people. A lot of my learning over these two years has come from my conversations with other Fellows. And the legacy is a network of people I feel I can draw on and contribute to in our joint endeavour to change the world for the better.
3. Investment in my strengths. The very first piece of training we all undertook encouraged us to build on our strengths rather than focusing our efforts on compensating for our weaknesses. That has been my guiding principle in spending my training budget which has consequently been a pleasure as well as immensely valuable.
4. Developing a network. I was conscious at the start of my Fellowship that I’m naturally good at building networks, and poor at maintaining them. The Fellowship has given me the opportunity to meet and engage with people across the social sector and beyond, and to build those contacts into an active network of people who are valuable to each other.
5. Seeing myself as a leader. If I’m honest I had stopped seeing myself as a leader over the three years before I became a Clore Social Fellow. Being appointed as a Fellow made me start to think far more deeply about what leadership was, and what leadership I could and should offer.
I’m now trying to put that vision of leadership, and all this investment in my strengths, skills, knowledge and network into practice. The leadership I am best placed to offer is one of innovation; creating opportunities then bringing people together to turn those opportunities into reality. I hope that is what I’m doing through Social Impact Consulting with a number of different organisations, and in my role of Director of Social Enterprise at Bangor University.
Current principal role: Director
Current principal organisation: Social Impact Consulting
Other leadership role 1: Director of Social Enterprise
Other organisation 1: Bangor University
Research: Social Enterprises & Homelessness. Sustainability or Social Impact?
Research topics: Employment; Housing; Impact; Social enterprise;
Secondment host: Barnardos