We were delighted to host our first virtual Women’s Leadership Programme alumni session on 30 July.
Having worked with more than 100 women across East Anglia since the programme began in 2014, the Women’s Leadership Programme is designed to enhance confidence, develop leadership skills and build a supportive network. Over the course of the pandemic, leadership identity and skills have been tested and now more than ever, it was important to provide a safe place for alumni attendees to meet, share challenges and regroup.
Facilitated by Christina Youell, People & Performance, we were delighted to welcome Simon Thorpe to talk about his experience of leadership throughout the pandemic.
Simon is Chair of Cambridge Angels and Non-Executive Director of Manchester Innovation Centre, Eagle Genomics, Inngot and UB.io. and Angel Academe (a predominately female angel network). He is an Entrepreneurship Fellow of Cambridge Judge Business School and mentors a number of start-ups. View his Linkedin profile here.
Simon talked about how important it was for leaders to learn fast in a crisis. He shared that communication is critical for understanding the different circumstances of employees how this affects their productivity and that the speed of decision-making is critical. Technology has played an important role in helping businesses adapt to the challenges faced in the pandemic.
When asked about the future of working from home, Simon said “people will start going back to their offices, although collective use of technologies will continue and it is important for leaders to understand which teams will most benefit from increased home working.”
When asked about the importance of building a balanced and representative leadership team, Simon said “any organisation can get better outcomes and productivity with a diverse leadership team. It is important for any board to be welcoming to new team members and challenge the consensus.”
In summary, Simon acknowledged that the pandemic had been challenging, but it had presented an opportunity to learn fast, adopt new coping strategies and develop war-time leadership skills
The alumni then split into group discussions on topics including “How to lead in changing times” and “Top tips to stay well in order to lead.” Lynn Walters said “the importance of communication, resilience and keeping connected were key themes in discussions and being able to share experiences and learnings achieved the session objective to inspire and be inspired.”
For more information about our Women’s Leadership Programme visit womeninleadership.prs.uk.com