2015 Social Enterprise Finalists

Wendy Sadler, Science Made Simple (centre) with Vina Patel, Social Firms Wales and Glenn Bowen, Wales Cooperative Centre

Leadership in Social Enterprise sponsored by Social Firms Wales and the Wales Co-operative Centre

The shortlistclick on a name to read their personal “Leadership Story”

Stephen Ray – Director, RCS
Wendy Sadler – Director, Science made Simple (winner)
Dewi Williams – CEO, Antur Teifi Cyf


Stephen Ray

Non-executive Director/Board Vice-Chair, RCS (Rhyl City Strategy)

How has your life experience made you the leader you are today?

I have been involved in what I am inclined to call Community Justice since 1974, through the vehicle of the Probation Service in England and Wales and from practitioner through to chief officer grade. The latter position, in North Wales, spanned the period from 1988 through to my retirement in January 2011.  I guess I have always been driven by the desire to mobilise the delivery of meaningful services for the disadvantaged and dispossessed in our communities in the endeavour to realise individual potential, transform lives and to make a difference for individuals and communities.

What have been the main highlights and challenges since taking up your leadership rose with RCS?

The challenges associated with “recovering the satellites “ have involved me over many years in the development of community resources and enterprises committed to adding value for people and get beyond one size fits all solutions to complex issues. Expanding choice One amongst many such initiatives has been RCS. An original company director at set up in 2007 I remain with the company post retirement from Probation. The highlights of this continuing journey are simple and are about just seeing brilliant, committed people working creatively and innovatively with participants in our programmes and witnessing the life-changing impact of that enabling work.

What have been the most helpful things you have learnt from these highlights and challenges?

These are the things that get you up when you do not have to! If you want to make a difference you have to be prepared to do things differently.  To do things differently you need to listen to the “quiet voice”.  The voice of the service user / customer.

What do you think is the biggest issue facing leaders in Wales in 2015?

In my world right now the big issue is sustaining the creative integrity and future of the small local enterprise in the face of statist protectionism of resources and the growing encroachment of large state subsidised predators in the environment. Chasing money and delivering what I call “traffic management.”

Which other leaders in Wales do you admire and why?

History is a great passion of mine. So for me it is  Llywelyn ap Iorwerth.  Warrior, builder/creator, strategist, diplomat, tactician, motivator, co-operator, co-ordinator of scarce resources, challenger of the “establishment”.  Leadership qualities in spades. A legend perhaps guided by the maxim “the biggest risk in business is not taking risks “ ?

What is the one word that sums up leadership for you?

Understanding

Summary of Role and Responsibilities

Steve is non-executive Director of Rhyl City Strategy.  Responsibilities include providing leadership and mentoring support for the management team alongside providing the main link between the management team and the board of directors.  In addition to being a director and vice-chair of the RCS board, he also sits on the organisations finance and employment sub-committees

Also a director of the companies trading arm, RCS Trading, which runs the training café/restaurant Taste Academy in Rhyl

 


Wendy Sadler

Director, Science made Simple

How has your life experience made you the leader you are today?

As someone who wasn’t at all confident at school I would never have believed that I would build my own business that was about presenting in front of hundreds of people and trying to inspire them! I was bullied at school for being the geek who liked science, and then at University I felt I was constantly justifying why I’d chosen my degree in Physics and Music. I felt driven to do something about it that would help improve the image of science to young people and make it accessible to a more diverse range of people.

What have been the main highlights and challenges since taking up your leadership role with Science Made Simple?

The highlight is definitely the pride when receiving letters from schools about how we’ve made a difference to how people feel about science. I wanted to create jobs for scientists with the talent for inspiring others, and it’s fantastic to see that happening. We’ve had challenges such as the week before my daughter was born when my deputy was involved in a terrible car crash that left him in a coma. I wasn’t able to help as I’d had a caesarean, so it was inspiring to see the team pull together to help keep the business going.

What have been the most helpful things you have learnt from these highlights and challenges?

A social enterprise is only as good as the motivation of the people working in it. Finding people whose values match the mission of the enterprise is essential. Investing in training is a priority. For us we need scientific knowledge and a flair for performing. Not always easy to find!

What do you think is the biggest issue facing leaders in Wales in 2015?

Start-up funding and business advice is readily available as long as your business model is one which shows you are going to make lots of money, but I think leaders with a passion for making a difference are less well supported by the various business schemes in Wales.

Which other leaders in Wales do you admire and why?

Professor Dame Teresa Rees for helping so many women fight for equality through her policy work. On issues of women in science I’ve admired her quietly-spoken ability to make an impact by speaking frankly (and in high places!) about the realities of being a woman in a mostly male-dominated world.

What is one word that sums up leadership for you?

Inspiration

Wendy Sadler is the founding Director of the award-winning social enterprise, science made simple who have a mission to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers. She set up the company in 2002, and has grown the enterprise to employ 13 people who have now collectively reached over half a million people with their innovative and inspirational science experiences. Last year they became Investors in People employer and they have won a number of awards including the Royal Academy of Engineering Rooke Medal for the promotion of engineering, and the EU Descartes Prize for Innovation in Science Communication – following in the footsteps of previous winners David Attenborough and Bill Bryson. She is also a member of the Science Advisory Council for Wales and a Fellow of Swansea Metropolitan University and the ERA foundation.


Dewi Williams

Managing Director, Antur Teifi

How has your life experience made you the leader you are today?

My family background has provided me with the opportunity to discuss, question and seek advice from people around me. Consequently, I’m never afraid to ask, respectfully give opinion or present reasoned argument about any issue.

From a young age my employers gave me the opportunity to take on responsibility and learn from mistakes… learning is a continuous process

My experience through life has taught me that two heads are invariably better than one when considering opportunities or problems.

There have also been challenges within my own family that have brought a sense of realism and perspective to what I do.

What have been the main highlights and challenges since taking up your leadership role with Antur Teifi?

On joining the organisation, we were facing a set of challenging financial and strategic issues.

We rapidly analysed and refocused our business model on delivering commercially viable activities that enabled us to focus on our core Social Enterprise aims.

The key leadership challenge was to change the culture of the organisation, working with the Board, shareholders, staff and key stakeholders.

The changes are working, employing over 80 staff across Wales and working with a broad supply chain to achieve our aims as a social enterprise.  In the last year alone through our own services direct to businesses and on behalf of government :

  • Over 7,000 SME have been supported
  • 1,889 Jobs were created , safeguarded and filled

What have been the most helpful things you have learnt from these highlights and challenges?

Always be open to ideas, advice and opportunities. Suggestions and ideas can come from all staff and stakeholders and everyone should be treated equally.
Make sure that you assess risk well and then set actions and give responsibility to individuals and teams so that they can use their skills and motivation to achieve great results.

What do you think is the biggest issue facing leaders in Wales in 2015?

The big issue for leaders within all organisations is one of identifying the key opportunities within their businesses.

Spotting and acting on the right ones will generate the foundations for businesses to succeed sustainably. This in turn enables the creation of prosperous businesses which will benefit communities through quality jobs, opportunities for local supply chains and ultimately revenue for public sector services.

Which other leaders in Wales do you admire and why?

I have been inspired by some strong leaders from businesses that have a social conscience.

  • Bill and Elizabeth Reed, Upper Scolton Farm, who gave me the opportunity early in my career to learn about responsibility.
  • Brian Jones Castell Howell, who has grown a significant business whilst supporting suppliers and the local community.
  • Menna Jones from Antur Waunfawr leading an organisation that provides opportunities for people who face disadvantages.
  • And the numerous leaders of small businesses, who have provided numerous training opportunities for young people in their area.

What is one word that sums up leadership for you?

Opportunity

Dewi Williams, Managing Director of Antur Teifi, is accountable for the whole range of its activities by leading staff and ensuring resources are used to achieve its objects on behalf the Shareholders.

Disclaimer: All details included in these leadership stories have been provided by the finalists themselves.  All information has been accepted in good faith.  Any references to individuals or circumstances have been relayed in the finalist’s own words and have not been verified by the Leading Wales Awards Directors or its Consortium.  Any views expressed are those of the individuals concerned and are not necessarily the views of the Leading Wales Awards Directors or Consortium members.


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