Meet our Social Leaders


Full list of Fellows
Rachael Smith

Rachael Smith

Type of Fellowship: Specialist
Year of Fellowship: 2013

Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation

Update Spring 2013

How have the first few months of your Fellowship been?

 A whirlwind of emotions and juggling priorities! I hadn’t realised how much commitment was expected. But I bounced into the challenges of balancing work and my Clore responsibilities but with a new approach which was commented on by friends and colleagues, particularly those with experience of coaching, who saw me consciously developing my ability to listening and reflection skills.

How else has your leadership been having an impact on those you work with?

Since embarking on the Fellowship my leadership style has become much more considered and strategically focused. We are now taking a strategic approach to planning this years Crisis at Christmas (where Rachel is Deputy Head). Taking on the challenge of mapping an extremely complex project which has developed organically over 40 years is stretching my skills and those of my team but we are all relishing this opportunity.

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

Receiving my 360 report alongside an extremely revealing residential week and two action learning sets have made me focus on knowing myself and being myself without imposing myself on those around me. My ability to actively listen through asking open questions before taking the time to reflect is enabling me to seek more honest and genuine feedback and act upon it accordingly.

 And what have you learnt from your fellow Fellows?

They challenge me to have the courage to think big and not underestimate myself. Whether it is those who have already taken on the challenge of setting up their own organisations and enterprises or those who are brave enough to include Michelle Obama on their list of potential mentors, they all inspire me to seeing opportunities instead of limitations.

How would you describe the CSLP experience so far?

The Clore Social Leadership Programme is a truly transformational experience. One which you embark upon with a cohort of friends who are your critics, your allies, your cheerleaders and your inspiration.

Current principal role: Head of Strategic Planning and Governance
Current principal organisation: Mind

Research: Asking the difficult questions: Are third sector organisations allowing their pride at recruiting former service users to their boards, to paper over the inherent prejudices that prevent these individuals from taking the lead?
Secondment host: The Start Network

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