Women in leadership and reflecting as Chair with Angela Greatley
As part of our Q4 spotlight campaign for International Women’s Day, we are highlighting the incredible work and achievements of our female workforce.
1) What do you think the impact of women in leadership positions are?
I originally came from a research and management background, but I remember many years ago going into a meeting room and it was all male consultants. We were working on developing services for older people, and they thought I had come to take the minutes because I was the only woman in the room.
Across my working life, I’ve seen that change massively – things have changed for the better. Now it would be surprising to walk into a room with no women in it, whether that be in a clinical setting or not.
We are representing half of the community. We bring a perspective that carries with it all that women learn, as they evolve right through to womanhood. Many women bring the experience of caring for other people and nurturing them. I think that it’s women who bring that broader perspective and they bring it right through to leadership positions. We bring something very strong in terms of our experience of life.
I think many of us in leadership positions are very capable of challenging, but I hope we often challenge in a way that brings a perspective of thought and reflection. Now leadership is becoming more about thought and reflection, and I think women have contributed to that.
We bring a huge amount, and we are an example of what can be achieved.
2) Can you summarise your experience as Chair?
It’s been a fantastic opportunity and I feel really privileged to have had the chance to be the Chair of CLCH. It’s amazing to see what really happens in people's own homes and in communities near to them and in clinics.
As Chair, one of the things I've learned is that it's quite hard to get the public and the media to understand how important our work is. How important it is that day in day out; we think about what promotes good health, how to keep people at home, and how to really address the whole population's needs right from being a baby, to being an older person, right through to palliative care.
I feel very privileged and I have so enjoyed meeting the people here. We have got fantastic staff and though they may not feel fantastic every day, none of us do – but the calmness, humanity, cheerfulness, humour with which they work, I just think it's so impressive.
3) What does it mean to you to be a woman in the NHS? Alternatively, when you think of the women you work with here at CLCH, what word comes to mind?
Strength. Resilience. Humanity. Fantastic multi-taskers.
It takes great strength to be able to work in the way that women do, particularly in community services. They often don't have their immediate colleagues around them, so they're working as lone workers or they're working in teams where they don't meet each other every day.
We work against immense pressure at times, but I think to be able to chair a Trust where people are living those values and supporting people in the community is just a tremendous privilege.
4) Across your time as CLCH Chair, what opportunities have you seen become more available for women? How has the Trust developed as a result of this?
When I joined CLCH in 2016, I was very struck by the fact that it was already a board that had a fair number of women on it. We haven't had that struggle to see women at the board table, they’ve been there. However issues like gender pay gap, promotions etc., we have to realise that it is still sometimes more difficult for women to come right through to leadership positions.
I hope that what we've done is open the door for more women to come through to leadership positions. We're a largely women represented Trust and so I think that senior management level is one where we expect to see more women coming through.
It’s also hugely important for this Trust, particularly representing as it does a very wide array of different backgrounds, ethnic groups, religious groups and so forth. We need to ensure that perspective of women right across the board, is carried through. There’s been progress, but we have to keep working at it. I think I have seen that coming to the board more, and I hope I played a part in bringing that to the board table.