Retail team leader in catering Nicola Critchley discusses her 100 Leaders journey, her accomplishments along the way and what she’s taken from the initiative.
What is your project?
My project is Rainbow gardens and staircase. It links the Tees Restaurant to the Rainbow Room and gives North Tees an outside seating area.
I had the idea to provide a link between the two areas after I saw staff sitting outside near the bus stop for lunch. I thought that the outside courtyard was a potential space for this, a suntrap for staff to enjoy a break at all times of the year. When the 100 leader’s opportunity came through asking for a courageous change, I thought “why not?”
It is a great change for what we are experiencing with Covid and enables staff wellbeing. My hope is that it promotes a chance for fresh air in a green space.
At the time of writing work is currently underway on this project.
What made you apply for the 100 Leaders programme?
In Cohort 1 you were nominated to be part of the programme; however, I understand this has now changed to self-nomination for Cohort 2 which is exciting.
When I received the email nomination, I was so shocked and overwhelmed. I decided to put myself forward as a pack leader as my mentality was “there’s no harm in trying”. That is what I would advise any staff reading this to consider – why not push yourself out of your comfort zone?
How have you found the 100 leaders programme?
This whole process has been such an interesting journey and I have had the opportunity to know people I would never normally meet. 100 leaders has given me great exposure to how procedures work in a hospital, especially bringing a project like this to fruition.
I am fortunate to work in a role where I meet all staff daily. That spurred me on to make this courageous change as I could see the impact on the Trust’s staff and patients.
The programme has given me the confidence to take up a course with Hartlepool College in Team Leading and Management.
What has been your biggest takeaway from the programme?
I would say the ambition this programme has given me to keep going, speak up and make more of a difference.
Another takeaway has been the relationship I have had with fellow pack leaders. We are a lovely group that all get on and, from the beginning; they have been so welcoming and kind.
We even have our own WhatsApp group to keep in touch! For example, pack leader Jun Saw recently reached out for my help on a voucher incentive that she is running. It’s fantastic that those connections we made through 100 leaders are used in our everyday roles as well.
How will you use your learning from 100 leaders moving forward?
I think that everything I have learnt on this journey will help me in my career. I love what I do and I love this Trust. The possibilities are endless on what we can do with my project and I’m really excited for the future.
I would encourage everyone who applies to go with it. Even if you have a courageous idea that you think is too ‘out there’ it’s worth a shot anyway. Everything I have accomplished on 100 leaders shows that anything is worth a try, as long as it improves the Trust for our staff and patients.
What would you say to Trust staff considering applying for Cohort 2?
I would say just do it, the opportunities it offers are endless. It is so satisfying when you see your project through to fruition. And you feel like you have accomplished something to benefit the Trust.
It is nice to be able to make a difference and I think 100 leaders gives you the chance to do that.