Job role: As Strategic Lead for People and Leadership, I passionately believe that people inspire, engage and support others to lead more active lives, and that strategies, plans and policies only work if people believe in the vision and want to get involved. We often think that this kind of system change is the responsibility of a small number of senior or strategic leaders, but everyone has a role to play here because change only happens if people, communities, organisations and wider partners work collectively around a shared vision of how things can be better. Current challenges and inequalities cannot be solved by one sector or organisaton alone. This requires a different approach to leadership that is based on relationships, values, behaviours and trust, and not just leadership as a job role with positional power and authority. My role involves engaging and collaborating with lots of different people to increase their skills, confidence and knowledge in working and leading through approaches that are complex and messy.

Date joined: September 2021

Professional background: My degree is in health sciences and counselling, which I chose because of my interest in the importance of relationships in keeping people healthy and well in communities. I started my career in environmental charities working alongside communities to help people use and develop open spaces, before becoming a full time Mum and community activist for a few years after my child was born with some health complications. Prior to joining Greater Manchester Moving, I worked in housing in a community development and volunteer coordination role, before working in voluntary sector infrastructure in Manchester and across Greater Manchester. My role there involved building relationships between communities and voluntary sector organisations and NHS structures across the city. I soon found that working in this way required a fundamental shift in leadership styles and behaviours, otherwise we were spending lots of money on projects, without changing the culture of how the system worked and how people collaborated across sectors.

Fun fact: I cancelled my wedding, had a drive through ceremony in Las Vegas and spent the wedding money backpacking around the world for 12 months instead. I also spoke at a national leadership conference organised by Nesta about what we can learn about leadership from pirates.

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