Welcome to the event blog for NHS North West Leadership Academy's (NHS NWLA), Festival of Leadership 2019 on Thursday 9th May at Aintree Racecourse, Liverpool.

The Festival of Leadership is an annual event that brings members from across our three North West footprints together, for a day of celebrating, connecting and inspiring leadership in the North West.

We have a packed agenda to share with you today, and we will be capturing all the inspiring content and activities for delegates to use post-event and for anyone who couldn’t make it. You can see all the activity from the day and join in the conversation by using #NWFol

This full day event is being brought to you by the NHS NWLA alongside guest speakers and headliners including Jaz Ampaw-Farr, Dr Mark Spencer, NHS collaborate; Catherine Loftus, NHS Leadership Academy and Deborah Davis, NHS NWLA.

The festival will be an immersive space for our members to connect, celebrate and be inspired. The event has been designed with collaboration and innovation at the forefront, led by the ambitions of the NHS Long Term Plan.

NWFoL tweet


NWFoL tweet

If you're in attendance, make sure to download the event app to access your agenda, workshop selection and evaluation. Check out the how-to guide or speak to a member of the events team if you get stuck.You can also sign up to the Festival Community, our interactive delegate list and networking tool, to message fellow festival goers, connect to their social media platforms or to arrange a coffee during the event.


09:30am Registration is filling up as we prepare to open. Join us for some coffee and connectivity. Cynergy are our event managers today, they’ll be in the purple jackets if you have any questions.

What better way to welcome festivalgoers to Liverpool than with a festival Superlambana thanks to the generous volunteers and team at PARTIA - Promoting Art in Aintree Hospital.

Play timelapse registration


Today at the Festival, delegates have access to the Innovation Hub designed to ensure individuals and organisations make the most of their membership with the NHS North West Leadership Academy.

The Interactive Hub stands will showcase best practice, toolkits, resources and various interventions that will aid delegate’s leadership journeys, they include:

  • System Leadership
  • Talent
  • Inclusion
  • Primary Care
  • Health and Wellbeing
  • Coaching and Mentoring
  • Organisational Development
  • Citizen Leadership
  • North Regional Talent Board

Innovation Hub NWFoL


Welcome to the Festival of Leadership

09:30am Deborah Davis, Managing Director of the NHS NWLA, kicks off the day by welcoming delegates to the festival, a day for sharing, learning and celebrating. Highlighting the opportunity to take time away from the workplace to connect as a North West community, make the most of development opportunities and outline the leadership offers for the year ahead - all tasked to take this energy back to the workplace.


Festival Headliner

10:00am Jaz Ampaw-Farr, our keynote speaker is next to take the stage opening with a session on standing by your why, asking “Why are you here? Why do you do what you do? What is driving you?” Jaz invites delegates to ask their neighbours to share their ‘why’, highlighting that we are only as powerful as the stories we tell.

Jaz shared a clip of her appearance ‘crashing out’ of The Apprentice in the first round.  Jaz challenges NHS leaders to ‘embrace the embarrassment’  – what’s the worst that can happen? Have courageous conversations and be brave in your leadership.

In a brave and honest account, Jaz shared her upbringing, a story of fear, desperation, feeling lost in this world and the importance of the smallest and kindest things people do to make you feel valid. “I shouldn’t be here…I’m here because of the smallest human kindness and connection”.

The story ends in the present day, with her family of five and their ‘Team Ampaw-Far’ powerful motto “adding value, bringing joy” and the way in which they live their motto day to day.



We love mistaks - Are you a success? Delegates were tasked to talk to the others at their table and share their successes. Our immediate reaction is often to discount our achievements. Successes included family, work and inspiring others.

“You can’t learn from mistakes until you make some” Staying in your comfort zone, playing it safe, playing small reduces risk; do something fun. Jaz gets delegates to join in a scenario, to celebrate when we make mistakes, take a look:


Over the break, Jaz challenges festivalgoers to explore "Complexity is where growth can happen. Strength when you choose to stand in complexity".

Everyday Heroes - Real or not real, Jaz asks festivalgoers to think of five beings that have influenced and shaped them in some way. 'Five people who have influenced how you think, what you do, how you feel, who you are becoming.' Jaz’s heroes made her feel worthy, that she belonged so that she began to believe a vision of success her everyday heroes had for her. Being defined by your role not your soul, there is always higher and better.


Learn to notice and describe without judgement. If you want to have an impact on others, you have to start looking after yourself. In pairs, delegates were asked to describe something beautiful about the other person. On receiving compliments, many found it a nice but uncomfortable experience. It was easy to give but much more difficult to receive; in your head you contradict them. Nothing good comes from a position of fear. Your broken bits make you more valuable as a human being. What if empathy replaced fear?

Jaz asks people to identify their core values and stick them in your desk, on your mirror and see if you are living your values or if they're aspirational. "Our values drive us, a value you should be lived and breathed."


What would your older self say to my current self? Jaz answers "Say yes more, say no more and get yourself some SWAG" – a seriously wild, audacious goal. Stop saying 'I should', say ‘I would like to’ instead. She continued "It's my New Years Resolution to remove should from m vocabulary. Should implies shame, would is intent and drive action. Aim big!"

Jaz closes by asking people to be more human at work, connect, be kind, live your values and bring joy. "I don't just want to inspire you, act, do something". Delegates, feeling galvanised into action, break for lunch before getting stuck into an afternoon of development workshops.


You can watch Jaz's Ted Talk here:


Jaz Ampaw-Farr

1:00pm NHS Royal Liverpool University Hospital staff members and members of The Royal Court Theatre Community Choir together led by choir master Jay McWinen, sing our leaders into lunch, promoting singing for wellbeing. You can watch a live stream here

We loved to see the surprise on people's place, caught by a fabulous photographer:



Delegates have the chance today to explore the national core programmes, available via the NHS Leadership Academy and our local membership offers. You can find out more about our local offers by exploring our website or using Our Offers.


2:00pm Time for afternoon sessions - Our delegates now have their first choice from one of four workshops. Practical developmental workshops will create an opportunity for leaders to build and apply new skills, share best practice, co-create new ideas and explore innovative responses to the leadership challenges that you have identified at a local and system level.

Generational difference ‘strategies for thriving together. Our first workshop comes from this year’s key note speaker, Jaz Ampaw-Farr who shares that all leaders understand that leading a team is never straightforward and collective success is driven by a shared sense of purpose. Effective leadership requires engaging and enrolling a team that has become increasingly diverse, and now includes five generations in the workforce (of which 50% will be Millennials by 2020). The group delved into the ability to engage and enrol humans from a variety of generational cultures that presents its own specific challenges and the strategies for success.


System Leadership Enabling Transformation. Our second workshop is headed by the NHS North West Leadership Academy’s own Managing Director, Deborah Davis.The challenge of delivering integrated care should not be underestimated, nor the opportunities it brings. The implementation of integrated care systems requires approaches that are collaborative, compassionate, inclusive, and outcome-focused, whilst maintaining quality, financial balance and effective performance in constituent organisations. Achieving such ambitions demands a different kind of leadership. In this interactive session Deborah is exploring how we develop ‘system leaders’ and ‘collaborative leadership in systems’ and the kinds of behaviours that are needed to enable effective system leadership across the public sector, to work across boundaries, with diverse groups for the benefit of whole populations.


Exploring Talent Management Hosted by Michelle Stansfield, Head of Transformation (Talent Management) at the NHS Leadership Academy and Suzanne Douglas, Associate Director at the NHS North West Leadership Academy.

This workshop takes a look at Lord Rose and Ed Smith reviews identifying the lack of a clear and visible pipeline of leaders, ready to take up our more senior roles and with the right type of leadership skills and behaviours for the new and changing environment that characterises the health and social care sector. Michelle and Suzanne highlight how this has also called for a style of leadership which operates compassionately and inclusively and with the ability to lead effectively across complex systems. The foundations for change were laid through the creation of the national leadership development framework Developing People: Improving Care (DP:IC) and similar themes can be identified in the workforce implementation plan aligned to the NHS  Long Term Plan. Find out about more about the North Regional Talent Board and our North West Talent Community of Practice.


‘Making it Happen’: Creating the foundations for Integrated Health and Care. And finally before the break, we call in our final workshop that is focusing on how do we create the right environment for Integrated Care Systems to build the relationships required to commission and deliver services in different ways for the benefit of the populations they serve? Led by Interim Director of Operational HR and OD for East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust and Portfolio Lead for Workforce across the Pennine Lancashire ICP, Kate Quinn.

Kates shares how Pennine Lancashire Integrated Care Partnership has co-created ‘The Pennine Plan’ with the population and workforce to articulate the ambition for delivering integrated care across the area. Delegates heard how they have been working with colleagues from across partner organisations to create the right foundations to ‘make it happen’.


3:30pm After a short break, we’re back for the second round of expert developmental workshops.

If you've not had chance to take notes today, make sure to check back for a copy of our visual minutes thanks to Oldham Play Action Group. Watch them at work... 


Health and Wellbeing: Building your Resilience Roadmap. Our Festival headline speaker, Jaz Ampaw-Farr takes to the stage once more this afternoon, delivering a thought provoking session on Building your Resilience Roadmap.

You know the impact that failing to prioritise your own wellbeing has, yet you find yourself in a position where it’s becoming increasingly more difficult. You came into your industry committed to a cause but, in order to do the day to day of your job you find yourself defined by your role, not your soul. The truth is that civic innovators have a larger impact exactly because they look after themselves. In this workshop Jaz outlined to the need to future-proof yourself by reconnecting with your WHY and be planning a route that allows you to make the difference you desire. Check out these free resources to embed ambitious resilience.


Engaging with Communities to Empower Citizen Leaders. The shift towards a system wide approach to population health requires leaders to work differently and citizens to see themselves as partners in the design of health and care services.  The NHS North West Leadership Academy has developed an innovative Citizen Leadership programme with a focus on empowering citizens to harness their leadership potential.

Led by Claire Haigh, Co-Founder and Director Collaborate Out Loud CIC. Members have the opportunity to hear about the impact of the Citizen Leadership approach through personal stories and to exploring the resources we have created to support local organisations in working most effectively with their local communities and citizens.


The power of collaboration, transformation on the front line and celebrating the best of leadership. The inspiring Dr. Mark Spencer, Chair of the Fleetwood Primary Care Network and Clinical Lead for Primary Care Transformation for Lancashire and South Cumbria STP, is next up leading a session about how building relationships is at the heart of sustainable transformation. This interactive workshop explores how NHS Collaborate supports Primary Care leaders to build relations that are based on trust, understanding and compassion.


Building Leadership for Inclusion. In the second round of workshops today, local and national guest speakers are leading an Inclusion workshop for delegates.

In the face of growing evidence that inclusive leadership plays a critical role in ensuring health and care systems operate most effectively for patients and public, Building Leadership for Inclusion aims to deliver new knowledge about inclusive leadership and leadership development. Catherine Loftus, Head of Building Leadership For Inclusion (BLFI) at the NHS Leadership Academy shares key findings from research, national pilots and leadership development programmes. Interactive elements support delegates to develop a deeper understanding of inclusion challenges, lived experience and how as leaders we can all contribute to the development of more compassionate and inclusive cultures. Find out about more about Inclusion and our North West offers here.


At a time where organisations are using Unconscious Bias training more habitually as a solution based intervention, Leadership & Inclusion Consultants Safina Nadeem and Tara Hewitt, Purple Infusion Ltd, help disrupt thinking by presenting their model 'Conscious Inclusion' in the second half of the session.

The model supports leaders to explore techniques and behaviours that facilitate the dismantling of assumptions and embrace an asset based approach to inclusive leadership.nwfol

Closing session

4:30pm In closing remarks, Deborah wraps up the event, next steps for leaders and thanks all the NHS NWLA team, speakers and contributors that made the Festival of Leadership possible.


Jaz Ampaw-Farr and Dr Mark Spencer are back to the stage with a message of being open, making yourself vulnerable, being courageous and bringing your whole self to work. Bringing sunshine to rainy day in Liverpool, Mark and Jaz close with a song inviting delegates on stage to end in the event in style.

Jaz and Mark


It’s been a pretty packed day with a lot of ideas, debate and interaction. Please do share your experience and learning with members who missed today. All resources will be on the event app and our website.

Thank you for joining us at the Festival of Leadership 2019, we welcome your feedback as we start plans for 2020!



See you next year! NHS NWLA team 

 nhs nwla team



All the event slides, toolkits and materials are now available on our dedicated Festival 2019 resource page.

NHS North West Leadership AcademyNHS North West Leadership Academy@nhsnwla
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