Thursday 17 June 2010

Annual CEO Summit

Today we had our annual Summit; the great and the good of the Big Society, gathered together in the warm embrace of the ACEVO network.

In opening up the Summit I asked my colleagues whether they felt optimistic, apprehensive or pessimistic about the future. An interesting result:

Optimistic. 55%
Apprehensive. 42%
Pessimistic. 3%

Given the gloom on cuts, how brilliant that the majority of our members are optimistic. Optimism will be needed! But in some ways it is a defining characteristic of sector Leaders.

I used the following quote;

"The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.”

Arthur William Ward, American scholar and author

It is the CEO who needs to do the sails, and this formed the backdrop of our Summit.

We had a brilliant presentation by Richard Reeves, who was making his last public presentation as Director of DEMOS before heading for Downing Street as the Principal Special Advisor to Nick Clegg MP. He agreed with my thesis that much of the "Big Society" thesis is not fully worked out but that it is a defining characteristic of the Coalition. It is an intuition about the way forward that is encapsulated by a title. And it is our job to help shape it. This must be right.

He argued strongly that it is our role in the sector to shape the weather; we don't have to wait for the wind to change!

Spot on Richard!

Some thoughts from the day.

The CEO of Witney CAB who said she would be meeting with her District Council (David Cameron's!) and telling them of the services they provide and which she could do better!

"Curiosity is the key to learning", Simon Fanshawe.

Gillian Norton, CEO of Richmond Council, who said they had done a survey of residents and discovered that there are more people who want to volunteer than there are opportunities! Well now, I wonder why that is; could that be because managing volunteers costs money? So how about you actually funding your third sector to expand opportunities, instead of looking at them to make cuts! She was talking of cuts of between 20-30%!

CEO, "we need value at the right price not cheap at the lowest price"!

There was a general feeling that there is opportunity in change. If we are smart we seize advantages. You either grab change by the hand or its seizes you by the throat!

The three Peters!

Peter Kyle and Peter Wanless listen to Peter Mitchell CEO of CAF Bank.

1 comment:

cambstreasurer said...

I find if very hard to believe there really are more volunteers than volunteering opportunities in a global sense. We do get a lot more requests for specific opportunities than there are places (everyone wants to work with animals and hardly anyone wants to fund-raise), but that's a bit different.