Facing the challenges of 2020

After winning memcom’s CEO Leadership Award last year, Paul Rees, CEO of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, hosted our annual Leadership Lecture. This year’s event centred around two key aspects of 2020 that shaped the way the world operates: the global pandemic and the death of George Floyd.

28 Jan 2021

2020 Leadership Lecture Round-Up 

Relating these topics to the sector, Paul addressed the role that membership organisations can play in tackling the pandemic and expectations around equality, diversity and inclusion, by taking the audience on his journey of creating and implementing a set of values into an organisation that was steeped in 175 years’ worth of history. He highlighted that as the values were embedded into the organisation, and as they were put at the heart of everything the organisation does, great things happened.

Paul spoke about how the organisations adoption of the digital world had allowed it to manage the financial impact of COVID and support his workforce during this challenging time, as well as allowing RCPsych to continue delivering services to key workers on the frontline. He went on to speak of how the values that the organisation now stood by meant that the Royal College of Psychiatrists could not stay silent in the wake of George Floyd’s tragic death. Issuing a public statement lived up to the organisation’s values and was well received by members, with one leading psychiatrist saying: “That statement alone has made more than 30 years of membership fees worth it!” RCPsych’s learning resource on race and racism quickly became the most downloaded document in the history of the site and Paul also spoke about his own experiences of racism. To conclude Paul noted that putting values at the heart of an organisation is a must to drive good behaviours, high performance and an excellent member and staff experience.

The CEO Leadership Award recognises true leadership of professional bodies, trade associations, membership charities and other non-profit membership organisations. It was for his vision, energy and the dynamism he carries as a Chief Executive, and the substantial strategic improvements he led within RCPsych, along with systematic work around processes, driven by the values he spoke about in his speech, that Paul won this memcom award.

Paul’s talk was followed by a series of roundtable discussions that focused on the following themes:

  • How should membership organisations respond to the challenges brought about by COVID and any future pandemics?
  • How should membership organisations handle EDI challenges highlighted by the death of George Floyd?
  • The importance for membership organisations in having strong values in this context

We interviewed Paul earlier last year about his career and he has also written a blog about the BLM which can be found here.

Out of the engaging conversations held between delegates about creating a culture of belonging within organisations, our EDI workstream will take place on 24 February so that the conversation among the sector can be continued.

2021 Awards

All memcom awards are judged independently by a panel who are carefully selected for their expertise and experience. This year’s awards celebrate success in areas of People & Leadership, Marketing & Communications, Digital, Engagement & Print. Standard entry to our awards closes on 28 February 2021. More information on categories, how to apply for the 2021 Awards, including the CEO Leadership Award, and the selection process can be found here.