The conference kicked off with a keynote speech from Cormac Russell, Managing Director of Nurture Development and a faculty member of the Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD) Institute. “We deliberately invited people from outside our sector to challenge our thinking and provide a different perspective”, said Clare Howard, Natspec Chief Executive. “Cormac gave an excellent insight into how we can all achieve more if we start from the strengths that exist all around us, rather than rely on institutions or the system to solve issues or provide the answers. His message was to “embrace the messy” and make contact with local connectors, resulting in more people and organisations realising how valuable our students are to employers or the community in general”
Delegates enjoyed Cormac’s description of traditional partnerships being “the suspension of mutual loathing in the pursuit of public money” and were urged instead to “start with the discoverables, not the deliverables”.
The session was followed by two leadership masterclasses, with delegates exploring questions such as how to work across different sectors, not just education, and how to build relationships with limited capacity. Delegates who attended Di Neale’s session “How to lead when you are not in charge”, were reminded that they would need to apply different leadership approaches for complex, uncertain or intransigent challenges, rather than technical solutions or traditional management approaches.
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