Welcome to my blog. I may write copy here that I would not present elsewhere. This blog allows me to comment while reporting for clients which can include subscription-only platforms. I use it to take a sideways look at running stories, and all views presented here are my own.

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Sunday, 15 June 2014

Greenwich School of Management; Exec MBAs with a Difference

I regularly interact with business and management schools in some sort of speaking capacity at various conferences, and some of them have stand out features.

The independent higher education provider, GSM London opened up in the former GlaxoSmithKline building in Greenford, west London, not long ago and I was invited by our MP to a dinner to meet with its senior team . One of them is Brian Buckley, one of the school’s directors and heading up different departments; Recruitment, the Executive MBAs, Executive Masters, etc. He invited me over to the Greenwich campus one recent Saturday and as I jauntily sat on the theme- park like Docklands Light Railway for the last part of my journey, I noticed two glamorous Qatari ladies in my carriage. I discovered that they were coming to the GSM too; they had travelled across from the Grosvenor House Hotel in Park Lane for the purpose. That set the tone; as among the delegates I later discovered a bishop, a psychiatrist, and interesting others.
Brian showed me round the excellent facilities and lecture rooms with names like “Admiralty Theatre” reflecting the fact that we were in the vicinity of the Royal Naval College.

The Executive MBA and postgraduate courses attract senior managers and professionals and GSM has constructed courses to fit with those at that level who are probably working much of the week. In a rare composite, the executive courses happen on weekends. People travel in from all over the world and the UK to study for three days with first class tutors in small classes. Different courses converge during lunch and break times for networking and I certainly broke my calorie count on chocolate brownies that day. I sat in on Dr Jag Kundi’s entertaining talk on accountancy and finance and learnt about cash flows. GSM is able to leverage visiting faculties from other universities so makes sure that he gets some hot talent. Jag was flown in from the University of Hong Kong and Brian regularly calls on Stirling Management School and St Andrews.

I also sat in on David Schofield talking about leadership styles. Clearly the level of debate is high with key decision makers from public and private programmes engaging with GSM. Sometimes the delegates know more than the tutors so there is learning on both sides.

It’s a way of sharing best practise. The school is rapidly gaining in popularity just on word of mouth.

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Anniversary of suffragette Emily Davison; Why #Emilymatters

Actress/Writer Kate Willoughby

Today is the 101st anniversary of Emily Davison's most famous protest at the Epsom Derby. Actress Kate Willoughby wrote a play that has the relationship between Emily and her mother at its heart.

On Epsom Derby Day, 1913, Emily was gravely injured during her protest and her mother pointed out that whereas Emily was passionate about the suffragette cause, she also suffered for it. She wrote a letter to Emily about this that Kate discovered and this is what opened up the story for her:

"I cannot believe that you could have done such a dreadful act. Even for the Cause, which I know you have given up your whole heart & soul to & it has done so little in return for you."

The public perception of Emily was of an austere person but in reality, Kate told me, she was big-hearted, larger than life and had a great sense of humour.

Emily Davison campaigned for a serious cause but used inventive tactics and public correspondence with detractors.

Kate created #Emilymatters to highlight and support gender equality campaigns, such as No More Page 3, which use creativity as a means to communicate and has had great success.

She wrote a play called "To Freedom's Cause" which played at the House of Commons earlier this year. as part of a special event sponsored by Emily Thornberry MP, founder of the Emily Davison statue campaign. Kate starred in this five hander, which was directed by Brian Astbury.

Kate is a dab hand at social media and I'm learning a thing or two from her.  She uses social media to promote the missions that she is involved with and is focusing hard on gender equality. She gets high profile support from people like BBC broadcaster Jane Garvey and Helen Pankhurst (great granddaughter of Emmeline Pankhurst, founder of the militant suffragette movement).

Kate is building on a campaign she worked on for the May elections about voting and is now working on an expanded project for the 2015 general election.

For more info see http://www.katewilloughby.co.uk/