I am back in the autumn sunshine in Johannesburg after a whirlwind week away at our fourth London CSCLeaders Alumni+ pop up and finally have a few minutes to reflect on the week that was. First off, a huge thank you to all the alumni and speakers who contributed to making the weekend a thoughtful and inspiring experience. A weekend like this could not happen if not for the generosity of all involved. For those of you who managed to join us and for those thinking of joining us in the future here is an overview of what went on. Our theme for the weekend was Redefining Leadership with a focus on leadership for empowerment, leadership for complexity and leadership for the future.
Our weekend began with a relaxed catch up dinner, giving everyone the opportunity to either reconnect or meet new friends.
Leadership for Empowerment
We started our Saturday morning focusing on leadership for empowerment. Eleanora Gatti spoke passionately about the work she and the UN have done to uplift rural women in Myanmar. With the belied that ‘they who face the issue hold the key’ they used design thinking and technology to empower the local women and enable transformation. Anna Claire-Temple from Step Together highlighted how by empowering those who are most at risk in society to help other at risk, you unlock self-esteem and help them find the courage and strength to turn their own lives around. Chinar Shai, a visual artist from Bangalore, who is currently an artist in residency at Bluecoats in Liverpool, spoke of how as an artist it is critical to challenge the images we produce and why. Through creating art exhibitions in domestic places, she seeks to create spaces of resistance and encourage conversation.
Saturday afternoon saw us travelling to Finsbury Mosque, known for its troubled past and community-based present. Imam Kojbar provided a great deal of food for thought as he described the process they went through to reclaim the mosque, build trust in the community and become a hub for their people.
No Saturday would be complete without our tradition of a good shared Indian meal and we headed for Tayyab’s to enjoy exactly this.
Leadership for Complexity
On Sunday we engaged on the topic Leadership for Complexity, spending time with leaders working in the world of technology. Emma Fryer, Associate director of TechUK, highlighted how one needs to think about leadership to create partnership when dealing with multiple players and multiple mandates. Tim Kimball, CTO at Aire Labs, challenged us to think about how understanding our biases helps us to better lead ourselves and those around us. Dr. Terri Simpkin, Managing Director of Mischief Business Engineering brought to life the current complexities of people leadership in a rapidly changing world and Rija Javed, CTO at MarketInvoice, gave us a glimpse into some of the leadership complexities that arise when working with the generational gap.
Our afternoon then gave us time for conversation and sharing around our own leadership journeys as alumni. We ended our afternoon together with a early dinner alongside the Thames in the afternoon sunlight and a rousing rendition (as per tradition) of Happy Birthday to Ian.
Several alums then headed to PWC to welcome the new cohort of CSCLeaders as they finished their first day of the 2019 London programme.
Leadership for Tomorrow
Monday saw us travel to Coutts Bank to engage on the topic of Leadership for Tomorrow. Peter Flavel, CEO of the bank shared the people journey Coutts Bank has been on to become future fit while maintaining its historic roots. The 690th Lord Mayor of London, Charles Bowman, shared leadership insights from a project he initiated whilst Lord Mayor. Entitled The Business of Trust, it highlighting the critical role that trust plays in business today and what this means for building leadership at all levels in society. We then engaged in conversation with Nicholas Watts, Chair of the Independent Forum of Commonwealth Organisations to understand the Commonwealth landscape.
We rounded off the morning sharing some thoughts on the ingredients needed to build a dynamic CSCLeaders alumni community before going on an archivist’s tour of the rich 300-year history of Coutts Bank and an opportunity to enjoy the gardens that fill the rooftop balconies of this iconic building.
We finished the afternoon with a visit to Marlborough House to again engage with the new cohort of CSCLeaders about to start their study tours across London. In amidst all this activity we also found time to chill out, eat good food, catch up and laugh (a lot).
All in all, a fabulous weekend with new and old friends exploring, learning sharing and growing together. Looking forward to our next chance to get together.
CSC Leaders 2015'