First Leadership cohort culminates with essential retrospective

15 Dec 2021

Our first cohort of the Leadership MasterClass graduated on Friday 12th November with a formal dinner at the prestigious St Hugh's College, Oxford.

The dinner was an opportunity to network and revisit the achievements of the last 18 months, looking back on a unique MasterClass extended and adapted to the changing environment of the pandemic and made possible thanks to Roche's enthusiasm and financial support.

It was also intended as an important part of the course - that of retrospection, which can often be overlooked in busy environments where 'the next thing' is already pressing. With pre-event exercises to encourage personal and professional journey reflections, the evening offered an opportunity to share these reflections and therefore learn from each other further.

Only the second time this group had met in person, there was a strong sense of camaraderie and connection in the room. Conversations covered personal and professional stories, and peer support backed by shared experience was offered to each person as they discussed their current challenges - akin to those being faced by many in healthcare roles.

Co-lead of the course, Prof Gabriele de Luca, provided an interesting keynote speech, sharing the inspiring neurology leadership story of the site where they met. St Hugh's College, he explained, had inadvertently been one of neurological leadership during the second world war. The college had been requisitioned by the military as a Hospital for Head Injury, and became a pioneering neurological service as a result.

'Hugh Cairns, the eminent neurosurgeon, realised that the quicker head wounds were treated, the better the prognosis for the patient, and from St. Hugh’s he sent out Mobile Neurosurgical Units, which performed operations on the injured as close as possible to the battlefront. The patients were then sent back by air for fuller treatment in Oxford.

As a result of this and the development of penicillin, used for the first time in England at St. Hugh’s and the Radcliffe Infirmary, the mortality rate for those suffering head injuries dropped from 50% in World War I to 5% in World War II.'

(Content via BBC)

Before the graduation, course co-lead Barbara Hoese set a creative exercise - a poem template, based on George Ella Lyon’s “Where I’m From”, encouraging each individual to think about their own personal journey, where they have come from in life, and what makes them who they are. During the evening, each graduate shared their poem, many of which were evocative or emotional.

Graduates Dr Nij Mistry, Dr Leonara Fisniku and Ruth Stross have offered to share their poems.

Niraj Mistry - Where I’m From

I am from muddy bikes dripping in the hallway​​, free taxi service for tabletennis/volleyball/whatever practice, from constant unread emails​ ​and Sisyphean in-trays​.

I am from open plan, “hot desks”, atop the behemoth, the mothership.

I am from “first man”, a biography of quiet industriousness and dedication.

I’m from resilience ​and determination,

from ​​Martin Turner and Nikos Evangelou.

I’m from ​respecting your elders and standing up when your schoolmaster enters the classroom, tidying my desk, with everything at right angles (especially when stressed)​.

From ​​​​​​​​​​being straightforward, calling a spade a spade and always very critical.

I’m from ​​​​​​​​​​​looking after the team (and the team will look after you),

I’m from ​Ashton-Under-Lyne, Coventry schools foundation, too many nights out in “Cindys” in Cambridge, ​

and gadgets, gizmos, connected everything, everything needs Bluetooth (even the thermometer for the barbecues).

From the ​Nottingham training programme (sink or swim), then 9 months pretending to be an epilepsy consultant, a Birmingham team who welcomed me into the specialism of my choice. ​​​

I am the product and remnants of what they made,

I am from those moments – ​look after your team, and hopefully your team will look after you.

Ruth Stross - Where I’m From

​​I’m from Africa, from sitting under frangipani trees and swimming in the Indian Ocean with my sister,

from watching my parents care for others, they were and still are passionate about teaching, only just retiring in their 80s!

To the strength, compassion, humbleness of a colleague in foreign parts who gently brought together a fabulous team of healthcare professionals to make a difference to people with MND.

Carnage is how many see my corner of the house,

I think of it as my journey, my learning and ‘Yes’ my brain feels the same sometimes,

Would I change anything? No, all of it is me; it has brought me to this moment, with all of you, here in Oxford…..what an outing!

I am from happy beginnings, building a church with everyone on our compound, brick by brick, together….

Leonora Fisniku - Where I’m From

I am from the lotus flower, in search of light, sun and life itself; ready to give unselfishly and joyfully to all those who need, who ask and seek,

from the sound of soothing classical music and ready to listen, accompany and become a shoulder to those who need and perhaps my eyes, the window to the soul, the only tool I or them will ever need.

I am from resilient, persevering, non-compromising but always consulting, always inclusive, always listening.

I am from love, love, love your fellowman, love is how the world began.

I’m from truthfulness is the foundation of all human virtues and no victory without dignity and no means should justify the end,

from my beloved parents and Abdu'l-Bahá.

I’m from don’t do to the others what won't be done unto you and always seek the beauty in whatever you see or do.

From deeply caring for those who cross my path and I’m from leading by example and always being inclusive

I’m from the land of Mother Theresa believing in the service to humanity and giving the opportunity to those that are less fortunate than me, from the land of eagles, where the word of honour and keeping your promise is our Pledge to faithfulness, honor and loyalty.

From the believing in the beauty and goodness of humanity and unity in diversity,

I am from those moments - uncompromising in the search of the truth, yet infinitely gentle in the manners.

The group shared their reflections on the course earlier in the year; you can find their thoughts, experiences and personal journeys online.

This activity has been supported by a sponsorship from Roche Products Limited. Roche Products Limited has had no control over the educational content of this activity.

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