Whist we pride ourselves on being a charity, there are many aspects of our organisation from service delivery and culture to leadership methods which draw on inspiration from the social enterprise sector. 

Recently, our CEO, Michelle Hill, has joined a range of diverse leaders in Social Club. Social Club is a support and education network for leaders across the UK which allows them to connect with others, improve their skillsets and consider their biggest challenges from a different perspective.

Never shying away from a challenge and as part of her commitment to developing her leadership skills, Social Club is one of many areas Michelle is engaging with to prepare TLC: Talk, Listen, Change to deliver significantly more support over the next 5 years. We know from experience that to keep ahead of the game, it is essential that we learn not only from our colleagues in the non-profit sector, but those outside of it too. It is only with diversity of experience and knowledge we can ensure our charity is progressive and sustainable in current times of economic, social and political instability.

In the last few weeks, Michelle attended both the Social Club North event and the Social Entrepreneurs Club in London, a new edition to the Social Club calendar.

The Social Entrepreneurs Club, facilitated by Mark Goodchild (Social Minds) welcomed 8 delegates including representatives from Buurtzoorg UK, EPIC CIC, Accelerate CIC, Your Own Place, and others. Following an introductory session to allow delegates to get to know one another, Ben Freedman (Bubble Chamber) facilitated an ‘entrepreneur hack’ which through the form of an action learning set, encouraged delegates to consider the shift from ‘working in the business’ to ‘working on the business’.

There was then an expert session from Max Dubiel (Redemption Roasters). Previously part of the founding team of Black Sheep Coffee, Max shared his journey to date and led a Q&A session which encouraged discussions about finance, investment, company structure, growth, brand and measurements of social impact. Ben Freeman then facilitated a session which asked – “what does good look like at Board level?”

This question was one which also opened the most recent event Michelle attended in the North last week. Held in our very own city of Manchester at Ernst and Young, who will be sponsoring Social Club North for the next year, a range of delegates tackled issues surrounding recruitment.

Social club meet up in Manchester

Those in attendance included; Kat Snowden (Persona), Nicole Bamford (Ernst and Young), Jean Stevens (Wirral Evolutions), Karl Dean (MioCare), Gina Rowlands (Bevan Healthcare), Scott Darraugh (Social Adventures), Liz Bradbury (Jewish Welfare Board), Craig Carey (Bubble Chamber), Neil Morrisroe (Aspire Community Benefit Society), Lance Gardner (Salford Primary Care Together), Jolanta McCall (Seashell Trust), Mark Cunningham (The Fed) and Nick Money and Craig Dearden Philips from the Social Club.

Following a leadership learning set, the delegates were asked to provide presenters with “the board you can’t afford” which considered recruitment within their organisations.

The learning set focused on the challenges in recruitment that the organisations are facing. Solutions included many which our charity is already taking under consideration including; values-based recruitment, promoting a total reward package and speeding up the onboarding process.

The session then welcomed the guest speaker – Professor Donna Hall CBE, who shared her personal leadership journey and offered insights which drew on her experience as the previous CEO of Wigan Council and Chorley Council, before discussing her current role as Chair of Bolton Hospital.

Michelle explained

Getting involved in the Social Club and their events has been something I’ve really enjoyed so far. The best bit for me, as always, was having the opportunity to be in a room with other social leaders who both support and challenge me. I come away from the sessions brimming with enthusiasm and ideas, which every day I’m back in the office I try to share and incorporate into the development of TLC. I’m excited to see where this will take us and I’m trying to get as many events in my diary as I can!
Michelle Hill


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