The only certainty in life is change.... but this constantly takes us by surprise. We’re never ready when it happens. It’s painful enough when we choose to do it to ourselves but boy it hurt when it happens TO us.
The Leadership Collection is particularly focused on the human aspect of the business world during the C19 crisis. The purpose of these initial episodes is to get the insider perspective on what is going on in the board rooms across the globe. To gather stories from different sectors and understand who the leaders are behind the decisions being made.
Cat Woodhead, CEO of Muscular Dystrophy UK: Front Line Leadership
I speak to Catherine Woodhead, CEO of Muscular Dystrophy UK.
Catherine has worked in the charity sector since 2000, with her fundraising experience spanning senior strategic and operational planning roles in a number of large and small charities. A former member of The Prince’s Charities fundraising advisory group, Catherine joined Muscular Dystrophy UK in August 2016 as Director of Development and was appointed CEO in September 2018.
Cat is a stroooong leader who has weathered this COVID storm with grace, courage and purpose as the wind in her sails. This interview is a masterclass in leadership. So inspiring and so heart led. She’s a tour de force – so hold on to your hats!
We learn about:
Empowering people at pace
Taking one for the team. When the buck truly stops with you, not shying away from the hard conversations.
Playing to team strengths – all pieces of a puzzle. It takes bold leadership to know what you don’t know and lean of the right members of the team to support you.
Find Cat here:
https://www.musculardystrophyuk.org/ - check them out – supporting 70,000 people with muscle wasting diseases – yes – that is the right amount of zero’s 70,000!!!
Carmela's Wonder Woman Walk - https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/carmela-chillery-watson10 - the cutest 6 year old walking 200km on crutches, before she’ll need to be in wheelchair for life by the end of the year.
Cat is walking the marathon on 4th Oct – please support her here - https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/cat-woodhead
This is the MDUK donation page - https://donate.musculardystrophyuk.org/public/landing.aspx?content=Donate
You can work with me as Leadership and Life Impact Coach, contact me here - firstname.lastname@example.org
Simon Whitburn & Marc Faupel: Fit Leadership
In this episode of Certain Change we learn about:
How to create and sustain new workplace relationships from scratch and over zoom.
How to pivot a business
A personal growth story: comparing leadership styles from 2 years ago to now.
Business behaviour changes: managing expectations - upstream and downstream.
And we celebrate just how highly adaptive the human race is.
To tell us their tales we meet a dynamic duo, who have known and worked together for over 10 years.
Simon Whitburn is Vice President and General Manager for the EMEA region for OneLogin. Their focus is Cyber security. His teams is spread across EMEA. The company is global and they are headquartered out of San Francisco. Oh and he started with them in March 2020. #challenge!
Marc Faupel is a personal trainer and coach. As his own business Marc has had to navigate a radical change of approach to his services. He is also privy to a myriad leadership tales from his clients around this challenging time. We will explore both his own experiences AND the trends he’s been witnessing in the wider world of leadership health and fitness.
Patrick McCrae, CEO ARTIQ: Leap Before You Look
Patrick founded ARTIQ, a leading art consultancy, in 2009 to bridge the gap between the art and business worlds and to promote a fair deal for artists. He and his team work with businesses to embed creativity into their culture and to harness the great power of art. He has been named ‘Creative Industries Entrepreneur of the Year’.
I have known Patrick for a great many years. I know him to be ambitious, benevolent and a values driven leader. COVID has not been kind to workplace and hospitality biased businesses. Patrick has had the unenviable task of furloughing staff, whilst continuing to win and deliver work with a reduced team.
You will find him to be charming, wise and kind.
Picking up on the strong leadership themes we’re seeing as a thread through these episodes.
What we learned in this episode:
Firstly - a strong culture, built before the pandemic, is weathering the storm well
Also we see again here that a strategy of comms, comms and more comms(!) is a critical factor in keeping a team buoyant.
An accelerated and regular board collaboration is required to make swift adaptive decisions.
I LOVED that he didn’t have a business leader to quote as leadership inspiration - W.H Auden will do nicely! The poem is below...
Please do check out Queer Frontiers: https://www.queerfrontiers.co.uk/ - the pieces are outstanding and support artists who are sadly slipping through the governmental support net.
Keep your eye on Patrick - he’s regularly in the press making big noise for culture for it’s importance. It’s at the epicentre of what makes us human. And, as an ex-actor myself, I couldn’t agree more.
You can find him:
and you can find me:
Leap Before You Look
The sense of danger must not disappear:
The way is certainly both short and steep,
However gradual it looks from here;
Look if you like, but you will have to leap.
Tough-minded men get mushy in their sleep
And break the by-laws any fool can keep;
It is not the convention but the fear
That has a tendency to disappear.
The worried efforts of the busy heap,
The dirt, the imprecision, and the beer
Produce a few smart wisecracks every year;
Laugh if you can, but you will have to leap.
The clothes that are considered right to wear
Will not be either sensible or cheap,
So long as we consent to live like sheep
And never mention those who disappear.
Much can be said for social savoir-faire,
But to rejoice when no one else is there
Is even harder than it is to weep;
No one is watching, but you have to leap.
A solitude ten thousand fathoms deep
Sustains the bed on which we lie, my dear:
Although I love you, you will have to leap;
Our dream of safety has to disappear.
-- W. H. Auden (December 1940)
Tim Oldman, Leesman: Workplace Magic Fairy Dust
Tim set Leesman up 10 years ago. A purpose driven mission to measure workplace experience (via employee surveys), to enable holistic people focused real estate decision making. With exponential growth and over 700,000 respondents COVID stopped play overnight - there were no workplaces to measure... So they diversified (and bloody quickly too!) to measure the employee home working experience.
We find in this episode he has his finger directly on the pulse of how the crisis has affected varying organisations and sectors. So, some super live insights about the value proposition of corporate workplace.
As for Leesman itself, we find here how Tim has been steering the ship and what he's missing about being with his team and clients. He speaks about how clear purpose requires clear communication, how they were able to diversify so quickly and are potentially coming out of COVID stronger.
The Leesman culture doubles down on their own employee experience - practising what they preach. High standards are backed by strong training and personal and professional development, with autonomy and creativity as core values... all of which I have personally experienced having coached some of his team members.
You will find Tim to be a strong and emotionally intelligent leader. Not afraid to say it how it is and yet accessible and kind. It is this leadership style that creates some of the 'magic fairy dust' of the Leesman workplace experience.
Where you can find Tim:
Leesman - https://www.leesmanindex.com/
Recent Webinar on home working experience findings - after 10,000 respondents -
https://leesmanindex.zoom.us/rec/share/_vx-cZvw5jlOQZWd6GvRf645RqTCeaa81CBIrvQIyk-TfoPtoAxuI4gIf10vlOfU?mc_cid=4ae4a0393d&mc_eid=26882a8413 (password - 0B#417C3)
BCorp - https://bcorporation.net/
And here's me! Amelia Saberwal:
James Townsend, Kontor: Foresight is 20/20
James Townsend, Co-Founder of Kontor speaks to me this week.
Kontor is a highly successful and respected commercial real estate agency in London and, more recently, New York.
When I first met James they were a niche agency - they were born out of seeing the need for agile workspaces and flexible leases especially in the flourishing tech sector. The big commercial office agencies and many of the landlords at the time were static and old school. Kontor really shook the market up. They were a critical part of growing the WeWork model in Europe and in bringing it to London originally. The rest, in the coworking story, is history. They have gone from strength to strength and now compete in the top 5 agencies in London and are starting to scare them in New York too!
What you will find in this episode is how they had the foresight to plan for the worst and hope for the best. The plan ensured confident, swift decision making when the worst hit. You will also discover that James is down to earth, super humble and cares A LOT for his team. Having built a culture of loyalty through promoting transparency, honesty and autonomy, his crew have stayed buoyant and fighting fit through this hardship.
Sarah Kay, Woods Bagot: COVID time: 7 Years in 1 Week
This episode's guest is Sarah Kay, Global Client Experience Leader, a Director and member of the Board at Woods Bagot, a global architectural firm with over 1000 staff with 16 studios in 5 regions. She is based in Sydney, Australia.
Sarah has a deep understanding of the challenges facing global organisations - keeping pace with a fast-changing world - looks like she’s definitely got her work cut out for her these days!!
It felt really right to ask her to be my first guest for Certain Change because of her unique leadership style. She leads from heart and head. She has a global perspective and she’s human…. She won't give me political BS or a bragging point of view. She’s always been so frank and so kind. I hugely admire her and the work she does.
She describes what's its like to lead through the 'whirlpool' that COVID threw us into. How she needed to design new comms, new ways of being and new ways of checking in with global teams in order to keep the ship afloat.
We mention National Australia Bank in the episode - if you haven't seen it, it's the most awesome Activity Based Working office and was top ranking for years after its inception. Check it out here - https://www.woodsbagot.com/projects/national-australia-bank-docklands/
To get in touch with me: