I didn’t get where I am today…

….without amazing colleagues and friends, without others to advise and mentor me and without the capacity to laugh at myself. Hard work helped too.

Who has most inspired you in your career?
The politician Barbara Castle for her commitment to social justice and equality. In the social care world, Daphne Statham has been particularly important and I never cease to be inspired by the tremendous contribution of the user movement.

How would you like your professional contribution to be remembered?
Having done my bit for social justice and equality and for having opened doors that others have gone through. Much of my early work was in community development and social regeneration and I hope I have continued to put social care and social work in that wider social context. I’m privileged to have worked in some venerable institutions at a time of major change (the Charity Commission and the Equal Opportunities Commission, as well as the GSCC). I’m glad that I have been able to play a part in ensuring they have remained relevant.

What has been your worst mistake?
It was so bad that my boss suggested we drank a glass of champagne to celebrate some important – and rapid – learning! I found there’s more to learn from getting it wrong than from getting it right.

What motivates you most?
Knowing that I can use the influence that I have to make a real difference to the lives of others.

How would you describe your leadership style?
Positive and fun. I tell stories of success and try to inspire people to have the confidence to take their own decisions. I’m also committed to accountability and to taking personal responsibility for actions.

How do you get your own way?
Smile sweetly.

What’s the secret of leading change in an organisation?
Know where you are going and make sure others want to go there.

What’s the single biggest danger facing social care?
That the “social” in social care is forgotten and that we concentrate only on personal care and not on social transformation.

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