Type of Fellowship: General
Year of Fellowship: 2013
How has this quarter been for you?
This quarter I returned to work at Safe & Sound Derby full-time following six months maternity leave, and three months on secondment. I have been doing one day a week with Safe & Sound since the beginning of January whilst on secondment with the University of Nottingham Students’ Union. Whilst the transition has been fairly smooth I have had to lead a lot of changes at Safe & Sound. It is only now, in June, that things are settling down following the period of flux. However, I really feel that I am getting up-to-speed with everything that happened during my time away from the organisation.
How has your leadership had an impact on those you work with?
The recent changes at Safe & Sound, led by me as well as the Board of Trustees, have had a significant impact on the staff team. In the staffing restructure we lost two members of staff who will not be replaced, reducing the capacity of our project team. In addition, our new base is very different from our old one. We’re now in an open plan office in a suburb of Derby having moved from a three story premises in the city centre.
In what way you are a better leader now than at the start of the Fellowship?
I am now finding that I feel much more comfortable making the difficult decisions and explaining why they need to happen. Previously, I would have been questioning myself and forever wondering if what I had done was right.
What important lesson have you learnt so far during your Fellowship?
I have learnt that, although I often feel isolated as Chief Executive of a small organisation, there are others who can offer support. I need to work with and through them to achieve my objectives. During all the changes at Safe & Sound, I have drawn support from the Board of Trustees, the senior management team, and networks outside the organisation.
What have you learnt from your fellow Fellows?
I have learnt a lot from other Fellows. I recently went to see Andy Shipley do some stand-up comedy in Brighton. I was impressed by his bravery; it takes guts to put yourself out there in a room full of people, and he was funny too. I need to find opportunities to really push myself out of my comfort zone, although stand-up may be a step too far for me!
What have you enjoyed most about your Fellowship?
I am loving being a Fellow. Over the past 18-months I have learnt so much about myself and I know that I am becoming a better leader because of it. I am sure that the skills and experience that I have gained and continue to gain, along with the networks I am building, will support me as I continue to work in the social sector for many years to come.
Current principal role: Chief Executive
Current principal organisation: Safe and Sound Group
Other leadership role 1: Non-Executive Director
Other organisation 1: Children & Young People Network (Derby) C.I.C.
Research: Creative Commissioning: The Social Value Act in practice
Research topics: Policy; Public sector;
Secondment host: University of Nottingham - Students' Union