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Leading with Humanity: Now and Next? - Leadership Summit 2020

Bringing together sector leaders and leadership thought leaders, this unique summit will provide a thought-provoking environment to explore contemporary challenges and differing perspectives of leadership with peers across the sector.

The theme of this Summit (which took place on 10 June 2020) was chosen to reflect the need to address the humanity of leadership in tackling the challenges of a changing world for HE leaders – with the Covid-19 pandemic that imperative has increased and this Summit became even more timely and relevant.

The Summit was focused on what leading with humanity means now and into the future for HE, whatever that may mean. The summit was hosted online and still provided opportunities for colleagues to share, debate and network to ensure a strong sector for the future, as well as hearing from our expert contributors and panellists.

Join the conversation at #LeaderSum20

Why you should be there

“In the world of fast paced technology and globalization of our businesses, the domination will shift from control leading to the humanity of leadership. Gone soon will be the days of power, control, secrecy and silos. Today the road to success is in the essence of the people, in how they communicate, connect and collaborate with character”

Lolly Daskal, Leadership Coach and Author, 2019

Many recently published authors and thought leaders have all echoed this sentiment, that as we progress into a future where leaders will be less able to reply on a ‘tell’ approach, the often spoken about impact of a VUCA environment becomes more tangible and where future generations will be looking for a different kind of working environment, there is a need to lead differently.

Working out exactly how to do this can be challenging – but not impossible. This Summit will explore differing interpretations of what it means to lead with humanity and how those tasked with ‘showing leadership’ may frequently find their actions constrained by time-hungry, admin-burdened systems and ill-fitting structures but need to find a way to lead beyond these. We will explore the experiences of finding the ‘wriggle room’ in our systems and context to enact leadership with greater humanity and find a voice in evolving towards ‘better’.


Benefits of joining us online

  • Our live panel session will allow delegates to discuss various themes and topics in more detail with our panel of industry and subject experts in a dedicated Q&A session
  • the virtual chat facility will allow delegates from across the world to engage with each other, contact Advance HE and post questions for the presenters throughout the conference
  • delegates will have the ability to drop in and out of the conference live stream at their leisure and a recording of the sessions will be sent to delegates after the event.

Summit programme

Leading with Humanity - Leadership Summit 2020

Download draft programme


Keynote speaker

Robin Ryde

Robin Ryde is an author, leadership and organisation development (OD) expert, and former Chief Executive of the UK National School of Government.  Robin has been a Director with the UK Cabinet Office, Director with the UK National Audit Office and he currently holds the role of Programme Director with the Australia and New Zealand School of Government (ANZSOG) for whom he runs the flagship leadership program – the Executive Fellows Program. He is also the Head of Leadership with the Oxford Group.  

Robin has focused his work in two areas; in supporting Boards and leadership teams usually in the process of devising strategy and leading change, and in directing large leadership development endeavours. He has a broad range of senior level experience and has consulted in the UK, the US, South America, Australia, United Arab Emirates and Eastern Europe. Robin has worked with a wide range of organisations such as the Oxford University Press, the Wellcome Trust, Greenpeace UK, Fitch ratings, and Sainsbury’s as well as a variety of HE institutions. 


His management publications include Creating Authentic Organizations (co-author Lisa Sofianos, Kogan Page 2014), Never Mind the Bosses (Wiley 2012), Custom-Built Leadership (2008) and Thought Leadership (2007), both with Palgrave Macmillan.  His non-management publications include The Truth of Revolution, Brother (Situation Press 2014) and his first novel, Southern Cross (Situation Press 2017).

Robin has been a Visiting Fellow of the UK’s Ashridge Management Centre, and a Fellow of NSW’s Health Education and Training Institute. He has written for publications that include The Guardian, City AM, The International Journal of Leadership in Public Services, The Mandarin (Australia), Training Journal, and Civil Service World. Robin is founder and co-owner of the independent publisher Situation Press.  He is Vice Chair of the Governing Board of Richmond Park Academy.  He has two children, lives in London and has a passion for SCUBA diving and travel.

Robin Ryde

Panel speakers

Emma Watton

Emma Watton is the Programme Director of the Executive MBA at Lancaster University Management School in the UK. In addition to her role at Lancaster University, Emma is visiting faculty at the Centre for Humanitarian Leadership, Deakin University, Melbourne. Emma’s academic teaching area is leadership and her research interests focus on leadership development and reflective learning.

Emma has over fifteen years of HEI experience having previously worked at the University of Cumbria and the University of Central Lancashire. During this time she project managed several large scale leadership development programmes and was the Deputy Director for the Institute for Leadership and Sustainability at the University of Cumbria. Emma’s early career was in Financial Services where she specialised in the small business sector. She has extensive experience in the design and delivery of leadership development programmes for the financial services sector. Before entering Higher Education Emma’s early career was in financial services.

Emma Watton

Barbara Bassa

Barbara has worked extensively in the higher education sector since 2008. In the last 5 years her portfolio has been focused on delivering university-wide leadership and management development and working with senior leaders and executive teams facilitating programmes aimed at developing organisational effectiveness and leadership behaviours. Barbara is Programme Director for Advance HE's Senior Women’s Leadership Development Programme.

She has delivered over 3,000 coaching sessions for university leaders and students and has been a member of European Mentoring and Coaching Council. Barbara holds an MSc in Organisational Development from Sheffield Business School, MSc in Business, postgraduate diplomas in Social Communication and Human Resource Management. She is an accredited facilitator of Fierce Conversations, Real World Group 360 feedback, Window on Work Values and an HEA Senior Fellow.


Mark Trezona

Mark Trezona is an Advance HE Associate and has been designing and delivering programmes for Advance HE, and before then with LFHE, for over six years, including a continuing role as a member of the delivery team for the Cambridge Level 3 Senior Leadership programme.

His current work with Advance HE includes developing and delivering bespoke senior leadership programmes with the universities of Aberystwyth, Anglia Ruskin, Bournemouth, Cambridge, Cardiff Met, Carnegie Trust, Kingston, Northumbria, Norwich University of Arts, Portsmouth, and Sheffield Hallam.

Mark has more than twenty years’ experience as a learning and development specialist. His specialist expertise is in 21st century leadership and management, with a focus on doing leadership that is values driven, appreciative, inclusive and relationship centred. He also draws from positive psychology techniques for increasing resilience, engagement and happiness at work and has extensive experience working with leaders using the VIA Strengths and the Lumina Learning instruments. His MA in Management Learning & Leadership (MAMLL), from University of Lancaster specialised in Organisational Learning & Leadership Communications, and he also has an MA is Performance Making from Goldsmiths, University of London, specialising in sound and listening and the elements of great audience experience.

His work outside HE includes leadership and team development programmes with British Medical Association, First Story, Food and Drink Federation Fun Palaces, Kent Wildlife Trust, Lush Cosmetics, Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures dance company, Paul Hamlyn Foundation, and Tate Learning.

Mark also performs “The Suit” - a re-imagining of Yoko Ono’s 1965 ‘Cut Piece’ in a 21st century soundscape of alpha leader voices exploring questions about contemporary personifications of strong leadership, identity and power, co-created & performed with the audience with groups, and has made this with Impact International, University of Cumbria’s ‘Poetics of Leadership’ conference, University of Lancaster’s MAMLL alumni, Lush Cosmetics global leaders and the Applied Improvisation Network.

Mark Trezona

Sally Jackson

Sally has over 20 years' experience of HR/OD gained from across a number of sectors (private, public and not-for-profit) however has concentrated on higher education since 2006.

Her particular areas of professional and academic interest are all within the broad span of Organisational Development and HR where business strategy aligns and integrates with the development of staff, specifically cultural change, management and leadership development, coaching and mentoring, talent development, equality, diversity, inclusion and well-being.

Sally is particularly dedicated to supporting women in their careers and is a role model and mentor for the Advance HEs  Aurora programme and a member of WISE (Women in Science and Engineering).  She has significant experience in supporting HEIs with their applications for Athena Swan awards and is a panel member, reviewing applications.

Sally Jackson

Kate Burnett

Kate combines her experience, expertise and commitment to enhance the potential of individuals and systems, through the use of humanistic connectivity. A seasoned urologist and a professional team and leadership coach, Kate combines her 20 years of experience to lead workforce redesign and organisational performance enhancements for stakeholders including charities, the National Health Service, and Universities. She is well recognised in the National Health Service for this work, where she has advanced the delivery of care and compassion to patients by enhancing human connectivity within clinical pathways across healthcare systems. Amongst her achievements is the Longitudinal Integrated Foundation Training Programmes. In addition Kate has led other programmes of work to enhance the culture of care within the NHS, including the ACTivate and On- Becoming programme. Kate has worked with NHS England and the General Medical Council to enhance performance of organisations through medical appraisal systems. She has been commended in the House of Commons as an ‘inspirational female leader in health and social care’.


She is a graduate of medicine from St Andrews/ Manchester University, has a master’s degree in medical education and is a qualified executive performance, organisational and relationship systems coach, She is a longstanding leader of healthcare improvement fellow with the NHS Advancing Quality Alliance (AQuA). 


As well as working as a urologist Kate works for Health Education England, designing and implementing the delivery of physician associates as an addition to the NHS workforce across the North West. She is an Executive Performance Coach and a certified Organisational and Relationship System Coach. Kate has been awarded a Fellowship of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA) for her achievements in leading with humanity within the NHS. 


Kate Burnett

Leadership Summit 2019: Highlights

View the Leadership Summit 2019 highlights here.




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