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Rachael Smith

Rachael Smith

Type of Fellowship: Specialist
Year of Fellowship: 2013

Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation

Update Autumn 2013

How has the past quarter been for you? 
Let go and enjoy what you discover has definitely been the lesson of this quarter. We have been gearing up for the next Crisis at Christmas so I am beginning to see my new approach with planning come to fruition and the many benefits this holds. This was most evident during the September residential, which unfortunately coincided with the induction week for my new team. Because of careful planning and sharing with my colleagues, I was able to fully let go safe in the knowledge that the week would be equally successful without me and returned with renewed energy from the residential.

This quarter has also been about the strength of the fellowship. My Action Learning Set feels comfortable, supportive and challenging. We spent a lot of time discussing at the last residential how we are going to turn the Fellowship into a lifelong Fellowship of learning and social change but I realise this has already happened.


How has your leadership has had an impact on others?
My new team have seen Clore Social at work during their induction period. Their sessions have included mindfulness, the four seasons, visualisation, theories of change and even a futures exercise. I have gained so many tools and techniques through the programme and it is a real pleasure to be able to put them into practise.


In what way are you a better leader now than at the start of the Fellowship?
A team member who has not worked with me for nine months immediately commented on my new approach to supporting the team to discover their own answers rather then leading them by the nose. I really feel I am becoming less rigid and set in my ways as a leader and more able to adapt and flex to other approaches, ideas and styles.


Tell us a lesson you’ve learnt so far during the programme
 
The importance of letting go and not forcing myself or an issue. This is definitely a personal barrier, as I put pressure on myself but also when working with volunteers and other colleagues. Through letting go I can provide space for adapting to new ideas or practise.


How has being a part of a network of Fellows helped you?

My research question has been particularly difficult to establish therefore being able to talk through ideas with Fellows who are knowledgeable, supportive and yet still critical has made a huge difference.

 

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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info@cloresocialleadership.org.uk

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Reg: 7222275
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