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Elizabeth Gainer

Liz Gainer Picture

Liz, how and why did you choose to study on the New Leadership Programme at Henley Business School

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‘I’d been looking for a programme to help develop my leadership skills, particularly in regard to capability to run wider teams and collaborate with other organisations, and I wanted something outside the NHS where I could meet a broader network of people.

‘My father, who was previously National Sales Training Manager at Cadbury Schweppes, told me that Henley had an outstanding reputation in the field of management training, and was highly ranked. When I looked at the syllabus, it was appropriate for everything I wanted.

‘The location was also beautiful, and conducive to learning – very different from the environment I was used to working in – I worked extensively in prisons and secure settings!’

Tell us about your experience of the programme, and the impact it had

‘The programme definitely exceeded my expectations; I thought it might be all theory, reading, classrooms and PowerPoint, but I was very pleasantly surprised at how varied and interactive it was.

‘I particularly enjoyed the team-building exercises, and those around active listening. Just understanding the different ways of learning, and seeing the variety of approaches from the other people on the programme was a real eye-opener for me.

‘Other things I found really useful were learning to be your best self, and not to over- or
under-amplify your best characteristics, and the way that using Myers Briggs and other tools can help us to identify and work collaboratively with different character types. Everyone is imperfect, and everyone learns and works in different ways, but they are all valuable to the team effort.

‘Being on the programme also made me much more aware of the importance of having a positive culture of health & wellbeing, and gave me a lot of personal confidence.

‘Soon after finishing the programme, I had to opportunity to apply for a new role in the NHS, and in the interview, I talked about the things I’d learned about, such as having a vision, and taking my team on a journey. I know that this really impressed the interviewing panel, and led to me getting the job.

‘As a result, I’m now in a position as Head of the Programme Management Office to influence others to see the importance of this cultural change within the organisation. The course definitely helped me to understand the importance of involving other people, valuing their feedback and getting their buy-in.’

So what advice would you give to anyone considering this programme?

‘Definitely do it! You won’t regret it.

‘You’ll learn so much about yourself. Maybe the biggest surprise for me was the impact it had on the people in the group.

‘There were tears at the end of the programme from many of the delegates because it’s a life-affirming process, and lots of the participants had gained a genuine realisation of what they really wanted to do with their lives. It really was life-changing for a lot of us.’