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The reason I joined Here is simple: people. From the moment I downloaded the application form, it was clear that Here was different: an organisation as interested in finding out about my hopes, dreams, fears and personal quirks (fortunately there was a word limit here) as my professional experience and academic qualifications.

This interest in the whole self came through again during the interview process which included one of the most authentic conversations I’ve ever had with a CEO, followed by a lively exchange with a handful of team members who shared their passions, plans and personal doubts with an openness that was both refreshing and incredibly moving. This was a very special group of people. I waited impatiently by the phone.

I’ve now been at Here for almost a year and continue to be struck by how the high levels of trust and mutual respect enable the team to lean into difficult conversations and actively welcome differences of opinion, all in the spirit of continuous improvement. Each Board meeting includes a session where we reflect on a recent strategic decision, consider its effectiveness and what we can learn. We’ve also put ourselves as non-executives under scrutiny to determine how we can make the best contribution.

In our view – and contrary to received wisdom – the most effective role for NEDs is to set how decisions are made rather than making those decisions ourselves. That’s one of the things I love about Here: we challenge traditional thinking, test our assumptions and draw on each other’s perspectives and experience to create radically new possibilities for health and care.

Importantly, the value that Here places on people underpins our approach to service design and delivery, ensuring that everyone – regardless of ethnicity, disability, sexuality, age or income – has access to the services they need to stay well and live healthily. The starting point is always to understand from people what matters to them before working together to design a service that meets their needs. For example, in the Musculoskeletal Conditions (MSK) programme, Here has brought changes on a massive scale to a system that tends to gravitate towards the familiar by partnering with patients, really listening to the problems they are experiencing, and designing, testing and developing new services that work for them.

At a time when our world is full of volatility, tension and anxiety, I am proud to be part of an organisation that thinks in terms of possibilities and operates from a position of confidence and courage. This was recently exemplified by Here’s Covid response and the speed at which the team mobilised the local community to deliver the vaccine programme across Brighton & Hove. Whether it’s vaccinations, MSK, memory assessment or primary care workflow and access, I’m inspired by how Here engages whole communities, including the most vulnerable and marginalised, in driving innovations to healthcare which transform people’s lives.

As Margaret Mead said, “Never underestimate the power of a small group of committed people to change the world. In fact, it is the only thing that ever has.” Here shows how we can achieve extraordinary things when we pull together across communities, draw on each other’s skills and strengths (and personal quirks), and tap into the natural human desire to belong to something bigger than ourselves. I’m super excited about the year ahead as Here continues to engage people and their communities across the UK in tackling health inequalities and delivering change at scale. All together, better.

tagged in The Board

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