Charity Impact Podcast episode 3 Amanda Batten, CEO of Contact the charity for families with disabled children
THE CHARITY IMPACT PODCAST: EPISODE 3
Charity CEO, Amanda Batten of Contact - the charity for families with disabled children – strategist; campaigner; Agatha Christie fan; collaborator; and occasionally ‘a bit of a martyr’. (#3)
“What helps or hinders us is us, it’s how we are, managing stress and conflict, how resilient we are. Coaching has been really helpful in shining a light on those things.”
Charity CEO, Amanda Batten is Chief Executive of Contact, the charity for families with disabled children and chair of the Disabled Children’s Partnership campaign. Amanda was previously director of external affairs at the National Autistic Society (NAS). While there she led a multi-award winning campaign to secure the Autism Act, the first ever condition-specific legislation. She played a key role supporting the development of autism strategies in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Amanda studied Economics and Politics at Birmingham University and holds an MSc Voluntary Sector Management from Bayes Business School.
In this episode, we discuss a range of topics including the experience of becoming a Charity CEO; coaching; campaigning; diary management to maximise energy flow; Agatha Christie for recovery; the power of feedback and remembering to be less ‘martyrish’.
As I mentioned in the podcast launch, my plan is to produce a series of say six to 10 episodes and then review whether to continue or not.
If you enjoy the podcast and haven’t done so yet, please do leave a rating/review on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or the podcast platform you use; or if you’d prefer to share constructive feedback by e-mail, please do. I would really appreciate any feedback so I can get a sense of whether the podcast is adding value for you or what I could do to improve it.
Driven by challenging social injustice; instinctively moved in to policy work
Do the next generation see the charity sector in the same way, as a route to address social injustice? Challenge for future sector recruitment.
Charities offer the power of connecting directly with people in need of support.
Reflecting on light bulb moments:
“…deep down I still saw the Charity CEO role as the preserve of late middle-aged white men with backgrounds in finance and public speaking skills.
I’m hardly ground-breaking, but I was 36, I’m female, an introvert and a campaigner by trade. The truth is that I didn’t always see myself ending up in this sort of role – but now I’m here I love it. The light bulb moment that made me take the step was actually lit by colleagues in the sector, who helped me to rethink the chief executive role in a way that works for me.
Since then I’ve battled with how fast to pace change, my unreasonable expectations of myself and my nightmare diary. But the learning has come with a flurry of light bulbs. I’ve discovered the importance of a great chair and the true value of friends and mentors within the sector. Ultimately, I’ve learnt that feedback from others is critical to reappraising and developing the value we can all add to the causes we believe in”. – https://www.thirdsector.co.uk/light-bulb-moment-amanda-batten-contact-family/management/article/1410083
Seeking out feedback, who to ask and what to do with it; knowing its importance.
Coaching as a resource for development – “what helps or hinders us is us, its how we are, managing stress and conflict, how resilient we are. Coaching has been really helpful in shining a light on those things.”
The impact of shifting to home working, energy flows and managing time accordingly; diary management to schedule different tasks at the most effective time e.g. high energy tasks first thing, easier tasks during the post-lunch dip.
Having peaks and troughs and finding a balance over time.
Method for recovering from fast paced weeks in busy periods – watching Agatha Christie episodes on Saturday afternoons. Don’t feel like you have to take up Pilates, do what works for you.
We revisit the successful campaign for the the Autism Act, discussed in the episode with Mark Lever, needing to create space for adults with autism who were isolated and ignored previously; the importance of being ambitious and forming a solution (giving civil servants a solution to champion); campaigns can be difficult to plan – circa 40% of your team can need to be reactive and responsive, but there are plans and measures that can be put in place. Planning the building blocks.
Disabled Children’s Partnership campaign – working with a growing coalition of over 100 organisations, driven by a steering group of 13 organisations, who have joined forces, working closely in partnership with parents, to campaign for improved health and social care for disabled children, young people and their families.
Working in a more challenging campaigning and funding environment.
Building evidence of the cost-benefit of investing in services to support disabled children.
The benefits of working together with partners in the sector – being in it together when it can be quite isolating as a single organisation.
Resourcing the partnership – contributions from steering group members and then securing philanthropic funding.
The challenge of making redundancies due to restricted funding ending without a replacement of sufficient unrestricted income.
Helpful prompts from former chair, Paul Streets, CEO of Lloyds Bank Foundation e.g. “You can be a bit of a martyr Amanda”. Remember to hold things a bit more lightly. When feeling snowed under, I need to remember to be a bit less martyrish.
This Podcast is brought to you by KEDA Consulting, which provides strategic consultancy support to charities.
KEDA is led by Alex Blake who works as a management consultant, specifically for charities and non-profits in the UK, with the aim of maximising social impact. We help charities to be as effective as possible in delivering their charitable objectives through developing strategy and plans; securing funding; undertaking reviews; and a range of other consulting projects involving research, analysis, facilitation and reporting.
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