Stepping into Comms Leadership Autumn 2019

Stepping into Comms Leadership
18 September 2019
09.30 - 13.00
A set of three workshops exclusively for heads of department/assistant directors (or equivalent) at organisational members of CharityComms with a turnover of over £2m.

Cost: £450+vat for all three sessions
Dates: Wed 18 Sep, Tue 29 Oct and Thu 5 Dec

Roots and Shoots
Walnut Tree Walk
SE11 6DN

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A set of three workshops supporting senior comms professionals through the transition from senior management to leadership.

Becoming a visionary leader requires embodying a new set of skills. These workshops will support and inspire senior comms professionals looking to move from senior management to leadership (for example from head of department to director level – and beyond).

As a delegate you will:

  • Hear the experiences of other senior leaders in the sector who have made the transition
  • Create an ongoing supportive network of peers from other charities
  • Gain tools and strategies for success
  • Improve your confidence in your ability to lead

"I think many of us would admit that we don’t always find the time to reflect on our own leadership and areas for growth as its easy to get so caught up in the day-to-day. These workshops made me realise just how important it is – but also gave me the framework and space to do this. It was really useful to hear from, and question, the CEOs who spoke candidly and offered up some real nuggets of advice. Equally, the opportunity to talk things through with my peers in the sector was hugely valuable. Would really recommend."

Katie Bennett
special projects lead – policy, campaigns and partnerships,
Alzheimer's Society

Who the workshops are for:

  • These workshops are exclusive for organisational members of CharityComms
  • This is an application only event for heads of department/assistant directors (or equivalent level) working in charities with a turnover of more than £2 million
  • The cost is £450+vat. The fee covers all three sessions, including lunch and the workshop (workshops cannot be booked as independent sessions)
  • There are 4 of 14 places available.

If you have any questions, please get in touch with Vanessa.

What to expect from the sessions

The sessions are designed as a set of three and will run over a period of three months. Delegates attend all three sessions, get to know the group, and have the opportunity to reflect back with each other and the facilitator about experiences and learnings you have in the time period between sessions.

Each session will focus on an aspect of leadership transition – a key developmental theme which surfaces when one moves from a managerial role into leadership role (outlined below). In each session:

  • 9.30 – 10.00: network and get to know different members of the group
  • 10.00 – 10.30: a CEO from the charity sector (who has moved up from a comms position) will tell us their personal story of how they tackled the session’s theme in the development of their career as a leader
  • 10.30 – 11.00: Q&A session with the speaker
  • 11.00 – 11.10: Quick comfort break
  • 11.10 – 12.10: facilitated discussion led by Griff Griffiths from Cocomotion. We will explore your reaction to the CEO talk, how different themes relate to your situation, what it means for you in terms of your own development needs and identify new ideas and action for you to take away
  • 12.10 – 13.00: sit-down lunch and informal networking
  • 13.00: session ends

Full programme:

Wednesday 18 September, 9.30 – 13.00

Theme: Leading from the self

Your accumulated operational experience can be a solid base from which to lead, and provide a sense of security. How do you move beyond this to lead functions of which you have no operational experience and only a limited understanding? How can you show up as a leader – how can you embody leadership – in a way which draws on who you are as much as on what you know?

Speaker: Becky Hewitt, CEO, Changing Faces

Becky is the CEO of Changing Faces a charity working with the 1.3 million people in the UK with a visible difference: a mark, scar or condition that affects their appearance. Becky was previously communications director at Girlguiding – the UK’s largest charity for girls and young women. In other roles she has advised campaign groups and charities on media and political issues including the Equal Opportunities Commission, disability charity Scope, Guantanamo Bay and death penalty campaigners Reprieve and Darfur campaigners Waging Peace.

Tuesday 29 October, 9.30 – 13.00

Theme: Riding several horses 

At any one time there are multiple demands on your time, so how you balance and prioritise your time and ensure delivery through others is key. No single horse is difficult, it’s the complexity of them all together and the interface between them which can be challenging.

Speaker: Richard Davidson, CEO, Sarcoma UK

Richard has been working in the third sector for more than two decades, joining Sarcoma UK as their CEO in July 2018 after eight successful years at the national blood cancer charity Anthony Nolan. Prior to that he was a director at health communications agency, MHP and spent 11 years as the director of policy and public affairs at Cancer Research UK. He is chair of Emilia Clarke’s charity, SameYou, which is dedicated to increasing access to rehabilitation services after brain injury and stroke for young people. For a number of years, he has also been a judge for the Kingston Smith Creative Vision Awards.

Thursday 5 December, 9.30 – 13.00

Theme: Using your difference

What’s the essence of what you bring and how does that align with the leadership culture of your organisation? Where they don’t align is where you can be usefully different in the leadership team, and can be the area where you fly or fall – or both!

Speaker: Anne Fox, CEO, Clinks

Anne is Clinks’ chief executive officer and joined in October 2015. Her role is to provide inspirational leadership to the organisation and be an influential advocate on behalf of the voluntary sector working with offenders and their families. With an educational background in social policy and postgraduate training in public relations, she has led campaigning, communications and policy in national parenting and one-parent family organisations and managed high profile campaigns at Mencap – the UK’s leading learning disability charity.


Griff Griffiths, director, Cocomotion
Griff created the award-winning Cocomotion network, which works with individuals, teams and whole organisations to: unpack assumptions, get clarity about what they do, understand what shapes their decision making, expand options, set direction and work better together to move forward.

"It was really fascinating to hear how the CEOs overcame their challenges and how much they were able to learn from their experiences. One area I found particularly interesting was how they all had very strong self-awareness and understanding of their strengths, limitations and working preferences. It made me more self-reflective and think more strategically about my strengths, which elements of myself I need to develop, which I need to accept and which ones don’t really matter all that much anyway!"

Jo McGillivray
internal communications manager,
Great Ormond Street Hospital Children's Charity

“I thought the workshops were brilliant, and really inspiring. It’s given me a lot to reflect on and helped me to consider what my next step might be – and how I can get there.”

Andrea Lisher
head of PR,
MS Society

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