leadership

I am a Swan Envoy

Press Release from Buckinghamshire Council 
12 May 2022 
Buckinghamshire’s Swan Envoys spread their wings at launch event 
 

The Buckinghamshire Swan Envoy Scheme officially launched at Pinewood Studios on Tuesday evening (10 May) with the first twelve Swan Envoys inaugurated into their new role.
From influential community leaders to much-loved local celebrities, each Buckinghamshire Swan Envoy has one thing in common – they are inspiring individuals who are committed to helping to promote Buckinghamshire as a great place to grow, live and work.
The new scheme, developed by Buckinghamshire Council in partnership with the Lord Lieutenancy, is designed to harness the influence and enthusiasm of the individual Swans to inspire and encourage others and create one powerful network of voices, working together with the council and its partners, to promote Buckinghamshire as a thriving and exciting county. 

The twelve new Swan Envoys are:
•	April Benson
•	Jane Campbell
•	Andy Collins
•	Keyaan Hameed
•	Karen Irons
•	Lorraine Kelly CBE
•	Sir David Lidington
•	Martin McElhatton OBE
•	Pauline Quirk
•	Alice Rose
•	John Shaw
•	Angela Spang

Martin Tett, Leader of Buckinghamshire Council said: “I’m delighted to welcome our founding Swan Envoys. I would like to thank each and every one of them for their willingness to share what I know is some of their very valuable and limited time, to support, motivate and showcase the great people and communities that we have in our special county.

“We already know that Buckinghamshire is a great place for so many reasons, and together we can help spread that message and inspire and encourage everyone to believe in Buckinghamshire!”  

At the inauguration ceremony, the Swan Envoys were introduced by Martin Tett and Buckinghamshire Council Chief Executive, Rachael Shimmin. They were each presented with their personal Swan pin badge and a certificate by HM Lord Lieutenant of Buckinghamshire, The Countess Howe.
 
 
Swan Envoys
April Benson
April Benson has been Chief Executive Officer of Aylesbury Women’s Aid since 2019,  providing inspiring leadership of the charity through the past two, very challenging, years. April established and delivered the Women’s Aid Freedom Programme locally and developed the Aylesbury Women’s Aid Relational Empowerment programme for teenage girls.
April was winner of the Community Impact Bucks Outstanding Leadership in the Women in Charity Awards 2021.

Jane Campbell
Jane Campbell is a successful Buckinghamshire businesswoman, Managing Director of a growing local firm, PCL Corporatewear.
In recognition of her unique leadership skills, Jane was named Business Leader of the Year at the Buckinghamshire Business Awards in 2017. She was also a Bucks Growth Champion in 2018 and a finalist for Businesswoman of the Year in the SME Milton Keynes and Buckinghamshire awards in 2019.

Andy Collins 
Andy Collins is a comedian, television and radio presenter, and has been a warm-up act for many popular entertainment shows. More locally Andy is a well-known and much-loved stalwart of the Aylesbury Waterside Theatre pantomime.  Andy currently hosts the BBC Three Counties Radio breakfast show and is also a Bucks Herald columnist.

Keyaan Hameed 
Keyaan Hameed is a Street Hero and has been appointed as a youth ambassador for the One Can Trust.  Aged just 15, Keyaan founded his eco-friendly SOUP-a-CANdle business, upcycling old soup cans into candles, with the money raised donated to the One Can Trust.
He also set up ‘Take One or Leave One’ coat rails for people in need in High Wycombe and Aylesbury. Keyaan won the Proud of Bucks Young Community Hero award in 2021.

Karen Irons 
Karen Irons is Chief Executive Officer at Maytree Respite Centre. Karen uses her insight and experience to help charities develop their business & financial models. She is passionate about helping organisations to find solutions, unlock potential and develop new ideas.
Karen is a committed and active member of the Buckinghamshire community, being a trustee and board member of The Clare Foundation and a School Governor.

Lorraine Kelly CBE 
Lorraine Kelly trained as a journalist before moving successfully into a long-running television career. She also writes weekly columns for national media and is a published author.
Lorraine is a keen supporter of charities, taking part every year in the in the 26-mile breast cancer charity ‘Moonwalk’ and is a patron on Help for Heroes and the STV Children’s Appeal. In in 2012, Lorraine was awarded the OBE for services to charity and in 2020, received a CBE for services to broadcasting, journalism and charity.

Sir David Lidington
Sir David Lidington is a former Conservative MP who represented the constituency of Aylesbury from 1992 until 2019.
He has held a number of key positions both in opposition and in government including Minister of State for Europe at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, Leader of the House of Commons, Lord Chancellor, Secretary of State for Justice and Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster.
In September 2019 Sir David received a knighthood for political and public service.

Martin McElhatton OBE 
Martin McElhatton is a wheelchair basketball Paralympian and Chief Executive of WheelPower, a charity which promotes sport and active lives for disabled people. Martin is a Board Member of LEAP, the Bucks & Milton Keynes Sport and Activity Partnership, and is a Trustee of National Paralympic Heritage Trust.
In 2020 Martin was awarded an OBE for services to disability sport.

Pauline Quirk 
Pauline Quirk is an award-winning actor and founder of the Pauline Quirk Academy, a performing arts school for children and young people.  Pauline has recently launched the ‘PQA Trust’ to help deprived children access performing arts training, to help build their confidence and learn skills for life.
Pauline supports a number of children’s charities, being an honorary member of the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children and a patron of the Rennie Grove Hospice.

Alice Rose 
During the Covid pandemic, at the age of 17, Alice Rose set up Alice's Positivity Boxes. Alice creates parcels of donated goodies and distributes them to young adults and teenagers who are struggling with mental health issues, those who are permanently in hospital or those who are underprivileged
Alice is also a trained mental health peer mentor and is actively involved in local mental health charities.

John Shaw
John Shaw co-founded and is Managing Director of the social enterprise, Chiltern Rangers. The organisation is a thriving local conservation community interest company which works with local communities to protect Buckinghamshire and Chiltern Hills.  His organisation provides a range of education and training opportunities for young people and works with schools on the Duke of Edinburgh scheme.

Angela Spang
Angela Spang is Chief Executive Officer of JUNE MEDICAL group. With over 25 years’ experience as a successful entrepreneur, Angela has a deep understanding of building successful businesses and operating across the globe.
Angela is known for being generous with her advice on all aspects of running a business.  In 2018, Angela was a Bucks Growth Champion and in 2021 was a recipient of The Queen’s Award for Enterprise in the Innovation category.

My Dream-Me is pretty harsh…

Angela Spang

I have embarked on the daunting journey of writing a book….or three, more accurately. Apparently I have a lot to say (who knew)…

I have always been a fan of objective viewing of self, as we tend to be either overly critical or alternatively not clear on our strengths and how we should manage them in relation to other people (and their potential shortcomings in the same area), but I have to say that I am taking it to a new level now!

The other day I woke up in the middle of a dream, and clearly the book writing challenge has made quite an impact — I am obviously pretty occupied with the idea since I was actually DREAMING about it. This is slightly concerning since I haven’t actually written a SINGLE word yet! I am worried what is to come.

Stick to Twitter

Dream-Me

I woke up offended.

My Dream-Me was telling my real me to “stick to Twitter”. Ouch. I am all for straight communication, but that is HARSH feedback to someone who hasn’t even started writing yet! Clearly Dream-Me is not wasting any time! She isn’t wrong though: I have said for years that I like Twitter — the limitation of characters is a challenge and a blessing — better be succinct and not waffle. I have seen the same tendencies in myself when it comes to writing: I struggle with filling in long blank spaces in applications for funding or similar (maybe that’s why I never applied for anything apart from an epic double failure in a Horizon2020 application a couple of years back where the second attempt was actually scored WORSE than the FIRST one. I gave up after that.).

Realise when you are not the best person for the job

One of my strengths as a leader is to put the right person in the right place. I match make well between people and roles, and sometimes I see futures for people that they may have not realised themselves. This strength is useful here….I have absolutely no plans to become a writer. Just because I have STORIES to tell doesn’t make me a writer…those are different things. People who believe that authors should only write their own stories or you aren’t a real author if you don’t do the actual writing yourself haven’t thought long enough about it, imho.

After all, Authors have editors, illustrators, designers….and they use computers 😉

I will have a writing partner

She will take the jumbled words, the blurry memories, the ugly and unsaid, the beauty and the magic…and she will use her skill and talent to turn my secrets and my scars into something that we can all learn from. I will have to trust her; I know it will require me to be brave. I will tell her things I have never told anyone, and I am already scared.

Maybe that is why my Dream-Me is saying stick to Twitter. She is not wrong.

Will you read my books?

Summarize me and JUNE: Attempt 1

I have tried to summarize me in a few words for the Goldman Sachs 10k I am just about to embark on. How do you think I did?

Here is what I wrote:

Making healthcare better for the women and girls you love.

Multi award-winning innovator and serial entrepreneur. (thats from LinkedIn, true but braggy sounding on here.)

I don’t like Brexit

I am Swedish, living in the UK since 12 years, still struggling to not translate and try to explain swedish expressions (eg “There is no danger on the roof”) during business conversations.

Useless education

Trained ballerina, rocks parallel parking but can’t cook. Once burnt boiling eggs.

It’s complicated

Like talking strategy, change and people. Enthusiastic introvert who has to do the hakka before networking. Residential will take all my energy, but I am really looking forward to learning from everyone on the programme.

JUNE Medical

June was a code name from the beginning, but it got stuck so I kept it. We focus on surgical women’s health, anything that is in the operating theatre and give women the opportunity to get back on their feet faster, back to the life they want to live. We distribute medical devices for some of the largest companies in healthcare, as well as making our own solutions when we don’t find good products (Galaxy II is such a project).
I have been supporting The Fistula Foundation with surgical equipment for many years, and my GalaxyII project is an important cornerstone in that goal.
I am on the programme to ensure I make the best choices and optimise where and how we can contribute to improving healthcare for women and girls.

Why simplicity is important in innovation

It is so easy to fall into the trap of ego. You know you have a great idea, and you want to show the world how clever it is…well, it is easy to also want to show the world how proud you are of having thought of it!

And being proud is a good thing.

…Just not so proud that it derails your innovation. Let me give you a good example, witnessed often in previous roles in large corporations:

Clever person solves a problem. Clever person then tries to share solution with other clever people, but makes the pitch lopsided, and the OTHER clever people end up offering to help with THEIR solutions to the problem. Clever person leaves feeling devalued, demotivated and misunderstood.

So what went wrong?

The mistake was made to make the PROBLEM bigger than the SOLUTION. (We tend to do this when we want to build suspense, to really milk out the praise we think we deserve for our brilliant solution.) It then back fires, because we focus too much on the stage before the solution, and once everyone’s brain is in help and solution mode, it is very challenging to present a solution. Intelligent creative people love problem solving and are so eager to help, they can’t stop!

Try this next time

Instead of building up the problem too big and subsequently losing your moment to shine, try summarizing the discussion you want to have up front. Try starting with saying something along the lines of : “You know that x we have been mulling over? I have a solution I want to share with you today, and I am really proud of it!”

Be honest, know yourself and use your strengths. Innovation is only beautiful when it is simple, and everyone gets it.

(Just like a good joke is only funny if you don’t have to explain it.)

Leadership struggles

As a leader, one of the hardest things is to figure out when to push your employees, and when to back off. Finding the balance, different for each person you lead, is hugely challenging.

Sometimes leaders get fed up too, because in the end of the day, we all have rough days when we just want to roll over and pull the covers over our head. But as the leader of a team or a company, that simply isn’t an option. Your actions would impact too many, and for a long time. You need to stay professional, at all times. Moping has to be done at home, hidden away from those your emotions will influence, worry or offend.

Supportive leaders are great

But how do you make the decision to just stop helping and stop coaching? When do you say “enough is enough” and draw a line in the sand? For example, how much of our personal life’s should we bring into the office? When should we tell our teams to be professional and just get on with it? Is it right to have team members not pulling their weight because they are going through a tough time at home? Should a boss be a mentor, a coach or a psychologist? Or all of it?

Lead with kindness

I always advocate empathy and understanding and believe leading with kindness is right. But….here is a thought for consideration: Is it right to spend extra time and resources on the ones who aren’t performing? Is it fair to the other ones in the team, those who are doing well, even great? Shouldn’t THEY be the ones who get the time, the coaching, the support and the help?

If you want to lead a team of high performers, is it strategic to spend most of your time worrying about the low performers? Or is it time to just ditch the deadweight and go with the stars?

Pondering continues.

Innovation is difficult? I disagree!

We are naturally capable of innovating all the time, but our psychological filters stop us before we even get out our drawing books.

How hard is it to innovate? Is it raw talent, a trained skill or just luck? As a growth company, how can you repeatedly implement great new products, processes or services? Continuous innovation is not easy and if you keep using the same method you will experience diminishing results.

Innovation comes naturally to me, as my key strengths of Improvement and problem solving, combined with creativity and a love of change bring me a brain that never stops. (Exhausting, trust me.)

Here are my top 8 suggestions to get your started into the habit of innovation:

1.     Ask customers. If you simply ask your customers how you could improve your product or service, they will give you plenty of ideas for innovations. Typically, they will ask for new features or that you make your product cheaper, faster, easier to use, available in different styles and colours etc. Listen to these requests carefully and choose the ones that will really pay back.

2.     Observe customers: Never ask what they WANT. Ask what THE PROBLEM is. Then you can innovate.

3.     Copy Paste: look at someone else’s idea. One way to innovate is to pinch an idea that works elsewhere and apply it in your business.

4.     Minimize or maximize. Take something that is standard and minimise or maximise it. Take out the middle man. (IKEA lets you build your own furniture, or sells the service to pay extra for someone to do it for you)

5.     Eliminate. What could you take out of your product or service to make it better? Dell eliminated the computer store, Amazon eliminated the bookstore, the Sony Walkman eliminated speakers and record functions.

6.     Collaborate. Work with another company who sees things differently. We recently spoke to a lighting company who had great ideas for improving visibility in surgery.

7.     Combine. Combine your product with something else to make something new. It works at all levels. Think of a suitcase with wheels, or a mobile phone with a camera or a flight with a massage.

8.     Ask your team. Lead your team is such a way that innovation and improvement is always on everybody’s mind, and that nobody is afraid to speak their opinions.

Mentoring Questions Part 3: EXIT STRATEGY

My goodness, I had more to say on this than I thought!

Thanks for coming back to read this third part. 

I got a letter in the mail a couple of weeks ago, from a company who asked if they could sell my company for me. As one of the things they wanted to discuss with me, they had listed my exit strategy for when I wanted to sell my company. I told them I would #neversell , but I would be happy to hear what they thought the company would be worth. They didn’t respond. 

Anyway, it reminded me about something I always used to try to install in my teams when we embarked on large projects in the corporate world: Exit strategy. 

I have observed, as well as been a part of, teams or projects that keep going long after any sane and remotely objective person would have called it quits. Why? Because it is hard to say “I give up”. And it is even harder to do it in a corporate environment where nobody wants to be pegged as being negative or pessimistic. 

So what is the responsible and strategic way to go? Make an exit plan. (And then hope you never have to implement it!)

Helping just because we can…Hana Lee’s Story!

From Angela & JUNE MEDICAL… 

16 year old student Hana Lee met JUNE MEDICAL Managing Director Angela Spang on the 11th July 2017, when Angela was delivering a talk at Hana’s School in Amersham.  Hana got in touch with Angela after hearing her speak at Amersham school with an interest in the Apprenticeships that JUNE MEDICAL had to offer.

As Hana planned to go back to school to study for her A-levels it was decided that an apprenticeship wasn’t for her at this time, however JUNE MEDICAL who are always happy to help and encourage new talent, offered Hana some work experience over her summer holiday period.

Hana carried out some key market research for our sister company LMEDAC, which will help determine the next direction for the business to take.  Hence Hana was instrumental in some extremely valuable work and proved a worthwhile contribution to the company in the weeks that she worked with us.

Hana fitted straight in within our team environment, she had her head down working hard but also joined in with office discussions, team meetings and brainstorm sessions – she even took the initiative to clean the office without anyone asking her.

Hana’s time with the JUNE MEDICAL team proved to be mutually beneficial and she was a pleasure to have onboard.  This is another fine example of Angela Spang and her team giving back and developing future prospects. 

After only a couple of days into Hana’s work experience she expressed the wish to continue working with us.  This is something we hope we can make happen for her.  Angela and her team wish Hana the very best of luck with her future career development. 

From Hana’s Perspective…

Why did you want to come and work with us: I attended my schools induction day and Angela was there giving a talk which was mainly about body language and how people acted/reacted in certain situations.  I knew I wanted to do some sort of work experience during the summer but at the time I hadn’t found anything.

After hearing Angela talk about the apprenticeships her company ran, I took the opportunity to get her email address at the end of the session to see if I would be able to get some work experience with her.

Since both June Medical and London Medical Education Academy (LMEDAC) deal in the medical industry, I found that this would be the perfect work experience to ‘get my foot in the door’ and gain experience in the general field of the industry I am currently planning to work in.

Why would you like to continue working with us?: I would love to continue to broaden my current knowledge further with both June Medical and London Medical Education Academy.  In the summer I learnt things I had no prior knowledge of and the work continued to interest me.

I didn’t have a dull day especially as everyone in the office was so kind and friendly

What have you learnt so far?: I learnt a lot about medical procedures in a range of different specialities due to the market research I did and I gained a new insight into the use of cadavers for medical training.  Also, thanks to Liz (Thornber) of LMEDAC, I was also given a quick overview at the marketing side of the company and how to use SalesForce and MailChimp.  I came to the realisation as to how important social media is to a constantly growing business.

What are you ambitions for the future?: Currently, I want to study Psychology at University but before that I am planning to take a gap year to travel and volunteer or work – I know I won’t have the time to do this otherwise.

Long term, at the moment I feel I would like to be a Psychologist or a Psychiatrist.

Keeping In Touch…

True to our word, the team at JUNE MEDICAL and LMEDAC have kept in touch with Hana and we are following her progress with genuine interest.  After a recent follow up we were delighted to hear of how Hana’s time with us has made an impact on her ability moving forwards…

How did you do in your GCSE exams?:  got two 8’s, one 7, four A’s, two B’s and one C whilst at the Amersham School.

Has working with us over the summer changed anything for you going back to school?: The work I did has helped me prepare for my A-Levels as I learned how to become more independent in my research.  This has definitely been helping me so far as additional research into my subjects has been a lot easier than it would have been, had I not had the chance to work with you.

Are you hoping to come back and spend any more time with us?: I would love the opportunity to come back and work again!  At the moment I’m focusing on my new school Dr Challoner’s High School and A-Level courses, but if I got the chance in the future I would definitely accept.

Were you inspired by working with us and has it helped you in anyway?: Working with June Medical and the London Medical Education Academy has really helped me to decide to carry on doing my A-Level subjects and it will definitely help me in the future as it’s helped me focus on what I really enjoy and want to do.

Would you recommend work experience to fellow students and why?: This work experience was an amazing opportunity and I would definitely recommend it to fellow students, especially those at my school as many are aspiring to work in the medical field in the future.

Any advice that you can offer following your experience with us?: The opportunity was great!  I fully expected to be doing filing and the ‘coffee & tea runs’, but you got me straight into researching.  I don’t have any advice to offer as the experience went beyond what I envisaged.

GUEST BLOG: Ali Arif

When Angela had messaged me asking if I could write an article for her blog, I took the opportunity and was immensely excited.  The experience of her teaching is something I can write about for hours and hours.

Angela came to my school to teach us about the art of body language:

How it can promote leadership, learning, development, entrepreneurship and growth. From the first time I spoke to her, I knew that me and her would get along because she did the best thing possible, which was offering me crisps. Continue reading…

Two new people to help find their strengths!! Who’s excited!?!

Me!

In september, we have a new apprentice start, on a rotation program between 3 of my companies. She is in for a treat very different to most apprenticeships: she originally didn’t want to do one, because she was afraid she would be filing and making tea for a year.

Not with us. Here, you learn.

When Ifsa (our first apprentice) started, we gave her responsibility for the entire Continue reading…