Featuring candid, meaningful discussions that get beneath the surface of issues, this podcast aims to inspire, inform and deliver practical insights on the challenges affecting charity and nonprofit leaders today.
For the benefit of leaders across the sector and for people who care about the important work of charities.
Tackling a different theme each episode, Dhivya O’Connor, a former charity CEO herself, invites top CEOs to share their unique insights, expert knowledge, and lessons learned running successful charities.
The Charity CEO Podcast is produced and hosted by Dhivya O’Connor.
For more details visit www.thecharityceo.com
Ep 6. Bhawani Singh Shekhawat, CEO The Akshaya Patra Foundation UK: The Indian disrupter tackling food poverty in schools
“We are all born geniuses and the purpose of human life is to find an interface for that genius... and food can truly be the catalyst for that interface.”
3.5 BILLION meals and counting...
Bhawani Singh Shekhawat is the Chief Executive of The Akshaya Patra Foundation UK. The Foundation started 20 years ago in India, to tackle the dual issues of classroom hunger and access to education for disadvantaged children.
The Foundation’s guiding vision is that no child should be deprived of an education because of hunger.
This is the remarkable story of how The Akshaya Patra Foundation grew from serving meals to 1,500 students, to serving over 3.5 billion meals to date, through the creation of an internationally award-winning Food for Education Programme.
The Akshaya Patra Foundation is today, highly acclaimed as the world’s largest non-profit run Mid-day Meal Programme, serving about 2 million meals daily. Its work has been recognised by the World Economic Forum, it has been formulated as a Case Study at Harvard Business School and in 2019 the Foundation received the BBC Global Food Champion Award.
The Akshaya Patra Foundation is now expanding its work in the UK, serving free, nutritious food to the homeless and to children vulnerable to food poverty, during school holidays.
In this episode Bhawani talks about the importance of food and how it plays a key role in creating a better society. He demonstrates how through the power of great questions, organisations and individuals can access more of their genius. And he highlights powerful lessons in leadership along the way.
Ep 5. Charlotte Hill OBE (Part 2), Founding CEO of Step Up To Serve: Leadership, babies and the intricacies of Maternity Leave!
“The Chief Execs who I really admire are those who wear their heart on their sleeve and are open and honest and themselves.... they are their authentic selves... no matter where you see them and no matter who they are talking to, they are themselves.”
In this episode, Part 2, of my conversation with Charlotte Hill, we talk about the joys and the challenges of having babies whilst being busy Chief Executives. We discuss issues surrounding Maternity Leave, Shared Parental Leave and around women transitioning back in to the workplace; and explore perceived barriers to leadership for women. We reflect on how lockdown has shown everyone in a much more human light, having to juggle work, children, self-care and in Charlotte’s case, even breast-feeding!
Charlotte reveals her personal struggle with fertility and how being vulnerable can actually make us stronger and more respected as leaders.
Ep 4. Charlotte Hill OBE (Part 1), Executive Director, BBC Children in Need: Pandemic impact on young people and the power of collective action - #iwill Campaign
“If we can get young people becoming Trustees and volunteers as young people, that’s when they form habits, and so they will then be volunteers and fundraisers and Trustees ... for the rest of their lives ... So it’s a great investment in our society more broadly and in civil society if we can get them engaged at a young age.”
My guest this episode is Charlotte Hill, the founding CEO of Step Up To Serve.
In Part 1 of our conversation, Charlotte and I talk about her current role, on secondment, as Executive Director for Children and Young People with the BBC’s Children in Need. There she is co-ordinating the COVID-19 funding response and developing a longer term strategy for collaboration, in the children and young people funding space.
Charlotte reflects on her journey with Step Up To Serve, its achievements and the intricacies of running a time-limited collective impact project. We discuss the particular challenges for young people in the current crisis, and how we must engage young people, in helping to think through what the ‘new normal’ should be, in order to build back a stronger civil society.
Ep 3. Sarah Mitchell, CEO Heart of the City: Corporate Social Responsibility and the future of charity partnerships
“There is a move away from the more traditional charity partnerships... (towards) a kind of main-streaming of responsible business.”
In this episode I speak with Sarah Mitchell, CEO of Heart of the City, a charity working with small to medium sized companies to help them to develop a purpose beyond profit. We discuss the changing face of corporate partnerships; Scenario Planning amidst uncertainty; and reflect on the positive aspects of working through the pandemic. Sarah also highlights some key leadership learnings and the importance of taking time for reflection and self-care as a Chief Executive.
Ep 2. Gemma Peters, CEO Blood Cancer UK (Part 2): Implications of Black Lives Matter - What does Diversity, Equity and Inclusion really mean?
“It cannot possibly be true that we have the best scientists working on blood cancer, if that scientific community only represents one bit of the population.”
In Part 2 of our conversation with Gemma Peters, CEO of Blood Cancer UK, we delve in to what Diversity, Equity and Inclusion really means for the charity sector. Gemma shares the responsibility she feels being a white leader, with an all-white Board, Executive Team and with predominantly white scientific researchers. We look at specific initiatives that Blood Cancer UK are pursuing to address this and how, as a sector, we can look to disestablish racist structures and precedents.
Gemma reveals that the true inspiration and drive for the work comes from the people she and her organisation are striving to help.
Ep 1. Gemma Peters, CEO Blood Cancer UK (Part 1): Leading through the pandemic - Impact on cancer communities and the charity sector
“We do really need the government to acknowledge that this (research) investment is critical. It’s critical to patients, but it’s also critical to the UK as an entity. The UK’s strength in medical research is something that we are all so proud of.”
In this very first episode of The Charity CEO Podcast we speak with Gemma Peters, CEO of Blood Cancer UK.
In Part 1 of our conversation, we talk about leading through the current crisis; the impact of delayed healthcare and medical research for cancer patients; discuss the tough decisions behind redundancy consultations at Blood Cancer UK; collaboration in the charity sector; and even outline a proposal for setting up a Charity Mergers and Partnerships hub!
Gemma reflects on what she has learnt as a leader and on decision making with imperfect data. She also shares how being open and vulnerable has actually helped bring her closer to her team and made them collectively more effective.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Honest and insightful
Great podcast with Gemma, well done Dhivya. Thank you for being so open and honest about the challenges faced by a charity CEO, but during particularly difficult times. It’s hard to hear how blood cancer trials are being effected especially for parent like me with an interest in developments within infantile leukaemia. Looking forward to the next one
Useful and relevant now
Dhivya's podcast was recommended to me by a CEO friend. Her insightful and useful conversations for CEOs and anyone involved in the charity sector, not only in the UK but globally are very relevant now – in radically uncertain times. I'm glad that I've subscribed to it – I got useful strategies for the growth and future of the charities I'm working with.
Not just for charity leaders - very thought provoking
Really interesting podcast. I don’t work in a charity and yet find the topics of discussion hugely relatable, especially for today’s society.