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Inspiring and emotional stories from Socitm’s leadership academy graduates

people in trainers climbing steps

It was time to celebrate success last night (Thursday 16 July) as the latest cohorts of Socitm’s Leadership Academy graduated!

title slide from the socitm virtual graduation
Click here to watch the ceremony and hear from the class of 2019-20.

This year was completely different as the ceremony for the first time ever was delivered virtually due to the current restrictions caused by Covid-19.

However, the graduates of the class of 2019/20 Empowering Women, Top Talent and Senior Leaders programmes came together to share experiences, catch up with former colleagues and provided powerful testimonies on how the programmes have impacted their lives and careers.

What happened?

The event was opened by Nadira Hussain, Socitm’s leadership development and research director.

Nadira paid tribute to all the graduates for their success and hard work this year and encouraged all the alumni to continue using the network they have created and build on these, access the resources that are readily available to them via the Socitm family and through the programme to continue their onward journey.

The Leadership academy presents challenges for the participants through programme content uniquely designed to harness, develop and empower them to feel confident in making a positive difference to themselves, colleagues and within their organisations.

Sam Smith followed, describing her journey from being a 2016 Empowering Women student to Head of IT for 3C Shared Services, strategic IT lead for Cambridgeshire County and Peterborough City Councils, as well as this year’s Socitm President.

She said: “The people I met in 2016 were and are amazing. The power of networking, an alien concept to me at the time, is so powerful and personal to me. As a result of that network, I’ve had opportunities I may not have come across otherwise”.

“If I can be an example or role model, that’s great but everyone’s journey is their own. I sit here today as Socitm President and this would not have happened without participating in the programme”.

Gary Burton, Regional Sales Director from Dell then talked about why they are the Executive sponsor for Socitm’s policy theme ‘Leadership, Diversity and Skills’ and its importance in developing future public sector leaders.

He said: “Cultivating inclusion is a primary focus. We believe that diversity and inclusion is just as important as the outcomes that we are trying to achieve as a business. It’s now more important than ever to help our future leaders.”

Further contributions came from Sam Collins, head of change and engagement, City of London; Iftaz Hussain, applications service manager for City of Bradford MDC; Tony Doyle, head of ICT services, Blackpool Council; and Nicola Carney, finance and operations manager at Difrent.  All spoke passionately about their own journey and the impact the leadership programmes have made on their careers and their own personal lives.

Common theme

One common theme – all the participants described is the challenge presented through the programmes regarding leadership styles, having the confidence to understand how and why they operate the way they do, being conversant with the different approaches others apply and finding techniques to work together effectively.

Before the final shout out and virtual round of applause to all the graduates, Emma Marinos, director of Modernise at Southwark Council spoke about the importance of following your dreams.  She challenged everyone to think about where their own values are, taking care of our personal wellbeing during such difficult circumstances and putting people are the heart of decision making.

Nadira closed the event wishing everyone well, encouraging colleagues to recommend the programmes to others and the hope that sometime in the future a physical get together could happen.