Type of Fellowship: Specialist
Year of Fellowship: 2014
Paul Hamlyn Foundation Fellow
Update Spring 2014
How have you found your first quarter as a Clore Social Fellow?
This quarter I have familiarised and immersed myself with the Fellowship framework. I attended the first one-week residential, followed by the research and coaching events, and my first action learning set. I have just submitted my Leadership Development Plan and met with my 'buddy' 2012 Fellow Carol Beaumount.
Moving forward I have just contacted two potential coaches and I have an idea of my research area. I’ve had one face-to-face meeting with a Birmingham contact to test the question feasibility and relevancy in the social enterprise field.
I spoke at the Clore Social information event in Birmingham last month and since then I have arranged a 1-2-1 session on improving my story telling and speech confidence with Actors in Industry.
What has been your greatest challenge so far?
I am keeping focused on my work at Connect Justice and trying to ensure I maximize the opportunities presented by the Fellowship. However both of these commitments are at critical stages, and I have to ensure that the actions in my Leadership Development Plan fit alongside the timeline at Connect Justice.
How has your leadership had an impact on those you work with?
I had previously observed my own impulses of needing to provide solutions to problems, with my London Action Learning Set. I have sought to suppress this urge a little more. My colleague as noticed that I was able to apply my new mantra “you don't always need to given an answer or solution to a problem, just listen", in a recent community consultation event in Birmingham.
I have been asked to sit on the West Midlands Police BME recruitment advisory group. I have taken more active steps to challenge senior personnel and to be more confident in challenging people. I'm not afraid to ask difficult questions or ask for clarity. These skill were encouraged at a training session on the January residential with John Cremer.
I’ve also been asked to sit on the advisory board for FutureShift which helps people make the changes they want to see in communities in Birmingham and the Black Country. It links me to the social enterprise world and provides invaluable contacts in the region. Will Lilley, a 2013 Clore Social Fellow is also an advisory board member. I feel this opportunity arose from both my work and Clore Social connections.
In what way do you think you are a better leader now than at the start of the Fellowship?
As finance is my big Achilles heel, I’m looking forward to the grounding I will gain through the Fellowship’s Business Capability workshops. I feel this knowledge will be critical both in terms of me sitting on future boards, as well as gaining a better understanding of our company’s financial stability.
Based on ongoing conversations, as well as business practicalities, I am learning to see why I require basic accounts and financial management skills. At the moment my company is having 1-2-1 mentoring via Unltd on this area of work for our business.
Tell us an important lesson you’ve learnt so far during the Fellowship.
Two main lessons: firstly finding a research topic is not as easy as it sounds. Secondly, listening is not the same as needing to contribute. Listening may require re-articulating someone else’s point to show you’ve understood what they’re saying, rather than always needing to give solutions to someone else’s problem. My Action Learning Set is helping me to reflect on this lesson.
What support have you had from your fellow Fellows?
I have decided to buddy up with 2012 Fellow Carol Beaumount. I have also linked up with 2013 Fellows Jude Cross and Will Lilley. 2014 Fellow Diarmuid O’Neill has remarked that I ask good, intelligent, questions, and a similar point was made by facilitator, Jeremy Keely, on the January residential. It was a great boost for me to hear that.
How would you sum up your Fellowship journey so far?
In four words: hectic, fun, glory, and substance. Putting things into action will be the greatest test of my Fellowship journey. Make the contacts, make the conversation and make the change, on reflection and not on impulse. The Clore Social Leadership experience is not to be rushed!
Current principal role: Founder Director
Current principal organisation: ConnectJustice
Other leadership role 1: Consultant
Other organisation 1: Organisation and Security in Europe (OSCE)
Other leadership role 2: BME progression and Recruitment External Reference Group member
Other organisation 2: West Midlands Police
Research: A tale of three cities: Public officials and senior representation in the NHS, University, Police and Local Authority
Secondment host: PocZero CIC