Every episode we’ll delve deep to explore what is most occupying the thoughts and feelings of some of the most successful social leaders, as they attempt to lead teams, organisations and major initiatives that are changing the world. What do they dream about, what keeps them awake at night, what gets them out of bed in the morning; what are their biggest fears and ambitions for the future? What are they learning about leadership – and themselves? Where do they find the greatest cause for hope ...The program seeks to understand what of the core ingredients for great leadership - for anyone concerned about doing social good. Ultimately this is a people business – it’s all about inspiring, motivating, connecting, engaging and empowering people to change the world. Which asks much of those who choose to lead. It means juggling multiple bottomlines: worrying about meeting the needs of the people whose cause we serve AND the needs of our supporters AND the needs of our partners/allies AND all the many demands of compliance/regulation AND public/political opinion AND trying to keep raising enough cash to keep the wholeship afloat ... AND crucially, leading professional teams of incredibly committed, passionate and determined staff that often see their job as their vocation.... All of which requires in leaders, a huge amount of personal strength, confidence and resilience. But where does that come from? How much of leadership is innate, versus skills to be learned? How do you manage those crises of confidence and be kind to yourself, as well as offering the leadership those around you need most?This podcast attempts to capture and learn from the wisdom and experience of CEOs, Directors, Founders and Leaders in charities, social enterprises, politics and grassroots organisations - to share more widely, and hopefully inspire others to grow in their own leadership. There is a lot in the world that needs changing, and we need great leadership now more than ever
Ep12 – Series Roundup: On The Mind Of Social Leaders in 2020
In this final episode of the first OTMO series, host Joe Jenkins reflects back on the 11 conversations with 11 extraordinary social leaders through 2020. Recognising that the episodes were all recorded online against the backdrop of the global pandemic, inevitably COVID-19 cast a shadow across all the conversations - setting an incredible test for every leader and organisation. Yet throughout the series, Joe was struck by the ways in which every leader stepped up to the challenge.
Appreciating the diversity of guests, bringing a refreshing breadth and depth of perspectives, Joe draws out 5 key leadership themes and concerns that emerged consistently throughout the series: 1) the use of privilege and power; 2) leading through others; 3) the importance of courage and vulnerability; 4) offering a vision; 5) leading with hope.
In the episode, Joe reflects on each of the themes, drawing on comments made by leaders through the conversations and including excerpts from the previous episodes. If you’ve been on this journey with us through all 11 episodes, then hopefully you'll enjoy this opportunity to look back; and if you're yet to hear all the conversations, then this might inspire you to check them out!
As Joe concludes at the end, while the series has invited guests with “titled” leadership positions, to explore what’s on the mind of those who are required to deliberately and purposefully give attention to leadership as part of their work - it is important to understand every one of is a leader. We all carry some privilege and some power, we all have ways we can influence, inspire and empower others. And if we are to achieve the positive social progress so urgently needed - then we all have a role to play. We need great leadership now more than ever.
Thanks to all our guests in this first series: Stephen Hale, Refugee Action; Mark Russell, The Children’s Society; Lucy Caldicott, ChangeOut; Adeela Warley, CharityComms; Sufina Ahmad, John Ellerman Foundation; Polly Neate, Shelter; AmickyCarol Akiwumi, Money4You; Deborah Alsina, Independent Age; Anna Day, Centre for Social Change; Craig Bennett, The Wildlife Trusts; Simon Blake, Mental Health First Aid England.
And thank you to everyone who listened, shared, rated, commented and encouraged us to keep recording these conversations. We really hope you’ve valued the experiences shared in this first series of OTMO.
The Key Takeaways From This Episode
[00.00] Introduction to the episode
[04.30] The use of privilege and power
[07.11] Polly Neate on ceding your power
[09.23] Leading through others
[11.02] Mark Russell on the 4 key words at core of being a leader
[15.23] Courage and vulnerability
[18.32] Simon Blake on vulnerability, courage and humanity
[22.50] Offering a vision
[25.00] Anna Day on transformational leadership
[30.50] Leading with hope
[32.45] Deborah Alsina on the power of people and kindness
[34.26] Final reflections on 3 core skills of leadership, how we can all be leaders, and why we need great leadership now more than ever
Resources From This Episode
Simon Sinek, How Great Leaders Inspire Action - www.ted.com/talks/simon_sinek_how_great_leaders_inspire_action
The Culture Code - danielcoyle.com/the-culture-code
Refugee Action – refugee-action.org.uk
Children’s Society – childrenssociety.org.uk
ChangeOut – changeout.org
CharityComms – a href="https://www.charitycomms.org.
Ep11 – Simon Blake, CEO of Mental Health First England & Deputy Chair, Stonewall
In this episode of OTMO, we talk to Simon Blake, Deputy Chair of Stonewall UK and the CEO of Mental Health First Aid England, a social enterprise built to create a society where everyone's mental health matters and has the same consideration as our physical health.
Simon has been the CEO of Mental Health First Aid England since 2008, joining there from the National Union of Students, where he'd also been chief executive since 2015. In the years before that, Simon held leadership roles at the Sex Education Forum, National Children's Bureau and the Sexual Health Wellbeing Charity Brook. He received an OBE in 2011 for his services in the voluntary sector and to young people and was recognised as a 2020 global diversity champion in the global diversity list.
With their core on-site training program My Whole Self, due to be launched just has the pandemic started, Simon shares the challenges and mindset changes needed to translate a 2-day office-based training course into the digital world, not least with timings (no-one wants to sit on a Zoom call for 2 days!). We also talk about how the pandemic has had its benefits to the organisation - stripping everything back (people no longer being just their job descriptions), how much tighter some of the systems and processes became, and the impressiveness of people's creativity and responses to the many challenges.
We hear sound advice for our mental health - how a holiday is not just about going away but is about our wellbeing and you still need that time, even when you can't go away. Accepting that it’s ok to feel disappointed when we can't do the fun things that we wanted to do and being honest, as a leader, when talking about how you’re feeling in tough times “hanging on, but hanging on well”. Simon also talks about why it isn't possible to just say the good things and nor is it sensible to just say the bad things. This leads us into consideration of Simon’s honesty around loss and struggles and how there is strength in vulnerability.
Other topics include being a gloom bag in the winter, borrowing the farmer's pony, how when you start second-guessing yourself, you're nowhere near as good as when you just trust your instincts and putting your brave pants on.
Simon’s life has always been about wanting all children and young people to grow up in a safe, emotionally literate world, whatever their ability, disability, sexuality, gender. From his own experience, he has learned to claim his own sense of masculinity to be as good as any other form. For the future he hopes to turn the culture of strength that stops people talking about grief, loss and mental health struggles the right way up (rather than upside down) and for it to be accepted that vulnerability and courage, sadness and joy, disappointment and hope can and do all sit alongside each other.
Looking to the future (while reflecting on the past) Simon tells us there are (and will always have been) people in positions of power who want to push back women's rights, to make sure that lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people don't have visibility within society and those who would rather we didn't talk about death and dying or about domestic violence. Having been through a few rounds himself and still standing, Simon believes that going forward the charity sector and individuals need to be brave. If you aren’t getting any negative reaction, then you probably aren’t being brave enough. When you're doing the right thing, there will be people that get mad and angry at you and you just have to keep on going.
Ultimately Simon has hope for the future - not least due to the courage that people have shown this year - the adaptab...
Ep10 – Craig Bennett, CEO of The Wildlife Trusts
In this episode of OTMO, our guest is Craig Bennett - CEO of The Wildlife Trusts, an organisation made up of 46 local Wildlife Trusts in the UK, the Isle of Man and Alderney. The Wildlife Trusts look after more than 2,300 nature reserves, covering around 98,500 hectares. He also continues to be a Policy Fellow at Cambridge and Honorary Professor of Sustainability & Innovation at Alliance Manchester Business School.
Craig has spent his whole career working on environmental challenges. He started at Friends of the Earth as Campaigner back in 1999 from the Environmental Investigation Agency. Moving to take on the role of Deputy Director at the University of Cambridge Programme for Sustainable Leadership in 1997, he returned to Friends of the Earth as Director of Policy & Campaigns (where he worked with host Joe Jenkins for 5 years) before taking on the role of Chief Executive.
Craig shares his leadership lessons in this episode, from joining a new organisation as CEO in the midst of a national lockdown and global pandemic (including how some of the travel restrictions have proven a leveller in a national organisation), to the challenges of The Wildlife Trusts shift in strategy - from not only protecting existing wildlife, to bringing wildlife back.
He talks about the ability and opportunity of federated charities to be bold, the difference between leadership and management, lessons from Henry V & the importance of self-awareness.
We get tips on how the answer you give to someone who asks ‘What can I do?’ very much depends on who they are and their situation; using Twitter as a mini focus group; and re-booting your perspective of an organisation that you’ve been part of a long time.
Other topics include finding the sardine when you’re trying to herd cats, the leadership of Greta Thunberg, when to say ‘I don’t know’, bees (of course!) and climate fatigue.
Looking to the future, Craig is excited by the number of people and organisations engaged in climate awareness compared to 25 years ago, and even though it feels like there have been steps backwards, the attention the issues now are getting, is in itself a move forward. And although the requisite action still seems a way off, some amazing development could take place sooner than we think.
Date of Conversation - 20th November 2020
The Key Takeaways From This Episode
[02.13] Interview Begins
[04.14] April Fool! Starting your first year in an organisation at the beginning of a pandemic
[15.50] Resetting environmental strategy: from protecting what’s left to bringing it back
[22.57] NASA and the clarity of purpose
[33.05] Renegade Leadership
[41.07] Taking a sabbatical during the FOE CEO recruitment process
[55.35] Learning from LinkedIn
[60.48] When dastardly actions create positive actions
Resources From This Episode
* Wildlife Trust - wildlifetrusts.org
* Friends of the Earth - foe.org
* Greta Thunberg - Greta Thunberg on Wikipedia
* Corporate Leaders Group on Climate Change - corporateleadersgroup.com
* Save the Bees - friendsoftheearth.uk/bees
* Cambridge Policy Fellow - Policy fellowships details
* The University of Manchester’s Alliance Manchester Business School
Ep9 – Anna Day, Founder and MD of The Centre For Social Change
For this episode of OTMO, we chat to Anna Day, founder and CEO of the Centre for Social Change which was founded in 2018 to develop models of scaling up successful people charities and causes to enable them to grow their impact. Working with leaders across the charity sector, the centre has worked with a wide range of charities and social enterprises, including World Vision, Fertility Network UK, Full Spektrum, Pen Green Children and Family Centre, Fathers' Development Foundation, BrightPIP, Engage Antenatal, and Baytree.
Alongside the Centre for Social Change, Anna also founded the CEO Hacks for NonProfit Leaders and ChangeMakers, a CEO training community for charity CEOs who manage smaller charities with a turnover of less than £1m.
In this episode, Anna shares her unusual motivation and route to CEOdom and the perspectives and benefits this has brought to the role. Anna became a Chief Executive out of necessity - in order to raise her child as a single parent and with minimal experience - and ironically found herself CEO of a homeless charity whilst in an insecure housing situation and living in poverty herself.
Having dived in at the deep end, she struggled to find suitable ways to train and learn to be a great CEO, eventually flying to the US to train with the Global Women's Leadership Network in Transformational Leadership - a methodology she continues to work with and explains in layman's terms for us, in this episode.
She was lucky enough to have built a great network and have mentors to work with, but finding this gap in suitable training and learning for herself, she realised that chief executives across the charity sector, particularly in smaller organisations, have very poor support in place for them, as well as the un-necessary ploughing of money to train chief execs by charities who can’t necessarily afford the high consultant fees. This led to her creation of the CEO Hacks training community.
We talk about how bringing life experience and challenges to the role as CEO, helps create deeper understanding of the people the charity supports. How overworking doesn’t heed results and about burning out - everybody thinks they are invincible until they're not! Anna also talks about how those that we are trying to be helped, can be held back by the low expectations people can have of them - how when you categorise people by their problems, it becomes such a strong part of their identity, making it very hard for them to move on.
Other topics include leaving Alan Sugar style boardrooms to the TV and keeping them out of charity organisations, taking a proactive not reactive approach, the misuse of NDAs within the sector and closing a charity with as much magic as possible.
Looking forward, Anna talks about the need for strategic advisors within organisations and not wasting volunteer time on what isn’t their expertise and how she would like to see genuine opportunities for proper chief executive training programs that enable not only people to step into new chief executive roles, but also for those who’ve been in a chief executive role for some time to stretch and continue their professional development. Post pandemic, as there's going to be a lot less money around, funding will gravitate towards the “best” organisations, so boards of trustees need to step up their game and do more for their charities and CEOs; and CEOs need to help these trustees right back.
Anna has an enormous sense of hope for the future, as experience has proved to her that people really are prepared to go above and beyond help.
Date of Conversation - 6th November 2020
The Key Takeaways From This Episode
[02.50] Interview Begins
Ep8 – Deborah Alsina, CEO of Independent Age
In today’s episode of OTMO, we are talking to Deborah Alsina, Chief Executive of Independent Age.
Deborah joined Independent Age as Chief Exec in October 2019. Founded over 150 years ago, Independent Age’s mission is to ensure that as we grow older, we all have the opportunity to live well with dignity, choice and purpose. The charity provides a free helpline, information and advice, friendship services through their volunteers and actively campaigns to ensure people can enjoy a financially secure, healthy, active and connected older age.
Deborah began her career in publishing and has subsequently worked in the voluntary sector for around 30 years, working with a broad range of organisations from academic think tanks to charities working on international refugee and human rights issues.
Prior to joining Independent Age, Deborah worked for Bowel Cancer UK for eleven years including ten as the Chief Executive. Deborah was awarded an MBE in 2016, in recognition of her service to bowel cancer patients and she was named Charity Chief Executive of the Year at the Third Sector Excellence Awards 2017 as well as Charity Principal of the Year in the Charity Times Awards 2018.
In this episode, Deborah shares what’s going on in her constantly churning brain, from stepping up to challenge ageism and discrimination to how Independent Age behaves like a 100-year-old startup!
She shares tips for working through any challenges (pandemics included) - breathing through the fear, keeping momentum going and how a good walk with the dog always helps!
On leadership, Deborah talks about not pretending or fobbing people off, surrounding yourself with brilliant people (who can fill the gaps in your own performance) and that there’s nothing like a crisis to bond a leadership team.
Deborah believes in our work tackling social injustice we are right to feel hurt, angry and passionate about the work we do, in her case addressing the terrible treatment of many older people in our wealthy society. But she also finds it is people that give her great hope for the future - as during her career, not least previously at Bowel Cancer UK, she has witnessed so much generosity of spirit and the astounding kindness of strangers.
Other topics include encouraging tears in the office, the hover and dive theory of leadership and “sustaining the hum” of a great team.
Date of Conversation - 02/10/2020
The Key Takeaways From This Episode
[02.50] Interview Begins
[07.44] Not losing your strategy in the midst of a crisis
[13.37] Planning for the future with flexibility for crisis, pandemics, Brexit and the economy
[14.10] Learnt from working with refugees and asylum seekers - the one thing you can factor in your plans is change
[16.40] Keep on planning as the world context changes all the time
[18.02] Recruiting people who fit the context you’re in
[20.23] Wanting to do the right thing as a leader and building a brilliant organisation
[30.20] The tragedy of an elderly person ending up out of sight out of mind
[38.15] Understanding the complex challenges you’re dealing with and looking ahead
[40.20] Allowing people to have ownership and grow
[41.25] Effective senior leaders hover and dive!!
[49.38] The importance of social connections at work - especially during a pandemic
[54.24] Learning through doing and experiencing
Resources From This Episode
* Independent Age - independentage.org
* Bowel Cancer UK - bowelcanceruk.org.uk
* Bowel Cancer UK Podcast - a href="http://bowelcanceruk.org.
Ep7 – Amicky Carol Akiwumi, CEO of Money4YOU, Social Entrepreneur & Consultant
In this episode of OTMO, our guest is Amicky Carol Akiwumi, the CEO of Money4YOU which she founded in 2014 to tackle inequality by teaching people how to make money, helping organisations to raise funds and support everyone to make the most of their resources.
Starting her career as an investment banker, Carol has since brought her skills and experience to a myriad of roles, as social entrepreneur, fundraising consultant, trainer, inspirational speaker, and general charity sector legend.
Alongside Money4YOU, Amicky Carol is also Director of the International Fundraising Consultancy Nigeria and CEO of RAA Solutions, a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Fundraising, where she chairs the Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Committee, as well as serving as Vice-Chair of the Board of Trustees.
Carol shares the origins of Money4You - from the early inspiration of a lunchtime club setup as a parent governor, it has grown into a fast-growing charitable organisation with a vision to transform disadvantaged communities - empowering people with a solid knowledge of financial management and giving them confidence to engage in profitable enterprise. Alongside delivering financial literacy and entrepreneurship workshops and resources for children and young people, the charity also runs the UK’s only accelerator programme for BAMER (Black, Asian, Multi-ethnic and Refugee) led charities and social enterprises, and an incubator programme designed to kickstart and bootstrap small businesses led by entrepreneurs in underprivileged communities and developing nations.
In this lively episode, we cover topics such as financial education for the young, the importance of being grateful (especially when you are surrounded by lots of talented, passionate, and committed people), not being a super-hero and putting the emphasis on attitudes over skills.
Carol’s take on leadership includes the belief that whether you have influence over one person or over millions, you can still be a leader - and leadership comes with responsibility. She also believes that leadership is a journey not just a destination, where mistakes will be made along the way. And to never forget, it is a privilege.
We also hear why you can’t do it all, to make such for other people to come along on the journey with you, inspirational childhood posters and the power of data for the future of BAMER organisations.
With an infectious optimism, Amicky Carol is full of positivity for the future and in human resilience - reflecting on the many new skills, ideas and opportunities she has found through the pandemic in 2020. Looking ahead, her inspirational goal lies in building a family of world changers.
The question we are left to ponder - will people wonder what on earth Joe and Amicky Carol were talking about in 200 years?
Date of Conversation - 11/09/2020
The Key Takeaways From This Episode
[2.30] Interview Begins
[5.25] Becoming less of an idealist over time - leadership situations are contextual
[7.55] The only thing you can control is your own responses and behaviours
[20.00] The scary responsibilities of money for young people - the origins of Money 4 Youth
[25.16] Expanding and becoming CEO
[28.00] Embracing change and growth
[29.45] Committing to growing and learning and finding mentors
[31.00] No-one is a superhero - don’t be ashamed to look for help
[32.18] You can’t do it all - allow people to come along on the journey
[33.55] Colourful leadership analysis with Insights Discovery
[38.25] Speaking your mind, while delivering it in a way that allows people to hear what you want to say
[42.37] Hiring for attitude and character, not just skills
I’ve found these really helpful, honest and insightful.
My lockdown listen
I love loved listening to the podcast so far, I binged the first few episodes during lockdown! The guests are incredible and the conversation topics give you lots to think about
Timely and essential listening
This is one of the best social change podcast series available and absolutely essential for charity leaders present and future. Joe Jenkins effortlessly marries an easy charm with an incisive interviewing technique that crystallises the guests’ brilliant insights and innovative approaches.