Investing in our leadership

At the Trust we want to nurture our colleagues and support them in fulfilling their potential.

As part of this, we believe in creating an environment where they feel safe to be open, honest, raise concerns or simply share views without the fear of a negative outcome. This open and constructive working environment promotes better teamwork, better relationships, and ultimately, better care for our service users.

An interview with a leader…

We spoke to Kate Ward, a Mary Seacole graduate and one of the Trust’s Practice Learning Facilitators, to find out what it means to be a Leader.

Kate, congratulations on graduating! Can you tell us a bit about your leadership journey?
I joined the Trust as general office secretary at age 23 after I had first-hand experience of dealing with the mental health sector due to a close family member of mine using the services. I was in real admiration of the staff who supported our family at the time and I wanted to provide similar support to others in the future. I went on to qualify as an Occupational Therapist and continued my development into leadership roles such as Clinical Team Manager and the role I’m in today – Practice Learning Facilitator.

So how would you describe your leadership style and what does leadership mean to you?
I just enjoy creating positive relationships and encouraging people in my team and across the organisation to be open and honest. I used to think that leadership was about seniority but in fact it’s about creating a vision, empowering and motivating people. I also think it’s important as a leader to share who you are as a person – rather than just being an operations manager, or an occupational therapist, for example. By giving more of yourself, you’re more authentic and you’re building better relationships and trust all the time.

Given that you were a finalist in the 2019 National Diversity Awards, it seems like this is more than a vocation for you – can you tell us a bit about how your nomination came about?
In early 2017, I set up the Rainbow Alliance with a colleague. It’s a Trustwide network of staff, service users, carers and members with the aim of challenging LGBT+ health inequalities. Since then I’ve spoken out on a range of issues on the subject and encouraged others to do the same. It’s this work that led to me being recently shortlisted in the 2019 National Diversity Awards. It’s great to now see other members of the alliance developing their voice and becoming prominent in championing everything that the alliance stands for.

You’re obviously an open and trusted leader within the organisation, who inspires others – would you say you’re a natural leader?
I doubt myself a lot. It’s important to realise that everyone can have doubts in themselves and so many people have imposter syndrome. Knowing it affects other people means you can show yourself a little more compassion and allow yourself the right to progress at things. I’ve been fortunate to have had mentors at the Trust who’ve allowed me to see that more clearly, and I want to do the same for others.

Would you recommend the Trust’s Mary Seacole Programme as a leadership develpment programme?
The programme fit perfectly with what I was looking for in terms of personal development, and it’s very much about applying everything you learn as you go along. I’m now in a very different role to the one I was in before completing the programme and it’s been clear that in interviews I’ve had since completing the programme, that I was drawing on the knowledge I’d picked up from the different subjects we covered. I’d encourage anyone wanting to develop their career to do Mary Seacole. Go out here and express an interest – it’s been one of the best things I ever did for my own development and for my career.


The Mary Seacole Programme

The Mary Seacole Programme was developed by the Open University and Hay Group for the NHS Leadership Academy. It’s a six-month leadership and management development programme designed to prepare aspiring and first-time leaders for the demands of leadership in the healthcare system. It provides the professional skills needed to thrive in a leadership role, ready to play a part in building a more compassionate NHS and results in an NHS Leadership Academy Award in Healthcare Leadership. We also offer an internal Management Essentials programme as an alternative option.

Join us

If you’re looking for an organisation that invests in its future leaders, offers staff varied opportunities for continued growth and development and a supportive environment, then we’d love to hear from you.

Visit our careers page for the latest vacancies at