Case Studies

My Career Epiphany

Aneil Jhumat, Barnardo's, reflects on the lasting impact of his Common Purpose programme

If you read Lynn Gradwell's blog post, you'll remember that she and I had the opportunity to attend the American Express Leadership Program, a four-day leadership event for future leaders in the charity sector, and I thought I'd add my own thoughts.

Where do I begin? From completing the application form, reviewing the detailed 360 degree feedback and actually being on the 4 day program itself, the word “Intensive” springs to mind. Despite all of the hard work and challenges, in summary I found the program to be absolutely brilliant in terms of self-development and learning. I will be honest, I was a bit sceptical of what I could achieve from only 4 days, however I was proven wrong! Those 4 days were like having a career epiphany, which I will elaborate on further.

The program itself was made up of a variety of activities, talks, visits, challenges, reflective learning etc. My highlights of the program include:

  • Taking part in the COLLAB exercise.
    This was a very intense half day exercise that involved challenging team working and negotiation skills. Groups worked with external business leads to play out a scenario that required partnerships to be forged with different organisations. It was stressful, challenging but enjoyable and the amount of self-learning and reflection was very beneficial to me personally, learning that as a leader there is no right approach and you need to allow people to take on responsibilities themselves and learn from any mistakes they make, in a safe environment.
  • Meeting the Chief Executive of FareShare
    Meeting with Lindsay Boswell was an absolute pleasure. He was an extremely motived and driven individual who shared some insights in terms of effective leadership and future planning for growth. FareShare take surplus produce that is provided to the Retail sector (did you know that suppliers usually supply an additional 4% of stock in case of spoiled goods) and then transport these to their warehouses where they redistribute the food to charities. FareShare feed over 140K people a week! I learnt of the importance of innovation and creative thinking as a leader. Leaders are in the business of successful change.
  • Coaching Sessions.
    Learning different approaches to leadership and in particular helping other people to come up with their own solutions to issues is paramount. In our learning sets we struggled to stop giving advice but to actually coach the individuals on how they could deal with issues that they have at work. I learnt that I always try to fight for the “underdog” but actually it would be better for me to work side by side as an ally for someone and help them fight their own battles.
    So my career epiphany… I learnt to live for now, enjoy the successes of hard work and effort without being overly focused on the future and what next. Personally my self-confidence has gone into overdrive and my long term ambitions have been clarified. I am determined more than ever in Barnardo’s to actively and overtly live and breathe our Basis and Values and to support staff, volunteers and service users the best way I can as Director of Corporate Audit & Inspection.

My short term goals are:

  1. Work on building and evidencing empathy as a leader in Barnardo’s.
  2. Do more voluntary work for Barnardo’s.
  3. Become a trustee/governor for another Charity organization/School as my time as Trustee for CIAN (Charities Internal Audit Network) comes to an end soon.
  4. Utilise and continue to build my professional network.

My final reflection is that I am only as strong and effective as the team I am a part of, my current and future successes are not just mine, but all of the CAIU team, who I am indebted to.

Aneil Jhumat, Director of Corporate Audit and Inspection Unit (CAIU), Barnardo's