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11 March 2022
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Panel discussion explored leadership culture and how women can realise their potential and deliver greater balance for all

The label of ‘leader’ is one which can present difficulties in terms of definition and identity, especially for those who struggle to realise their aspirations or recognise themselves in those roles. The webinar held this week to mark International Women’s Day 2022 explored this, along with issues around culture and identity, and the need for greater representation and support.

More than 100 people registered for the webinar, which brought together a panel of women with a range of leadership experience and from a mix of clinical and non-clinical backgrounds, but with a healthcare focus in common.

All panellists shared views of their own relationship with and experiences of leadership, as well as their leadership styles and values.

One point of discussion focused on the importance of self-reflection as a foundation stone of good leadership, and while it is possible to get to a leadership position just by going through the ranks, true values-based, authentic leadership requires a level of humility and vulnerability, as well as a responsibility, to empower others and bring them along on the leadership journey.

The fact that ‘glass ceilings’ have been the most acknowledged barrier to women’s advancement, yet ‘glass floors’ are equally an issue, was a question raised by a member of the audience.

Rachael Moses, Head of Clinical Leadership Development at NHS England and Improvement, agreed: “We also have to remember that women can be the biggest barriers for other women.”

Rachael continued: “Leadership is about nurturing people…it’s about providing opportunities, allowing growth and development and wanting them to do better than you…because that’s how the system gets better.”

A key aspect of the discussion focused on the part played by culture and the path to achieving greater representation of women in leadership roles.

Dr Bola Owolabi, GP and Director of Healthcare Inequalities at NHS England and Improvement, explained that women are “the ones who are able to bring a balanced tenor to the conversation that is not just about structures.”

Bola continued: “I want people to be recruiting women to the top table because somebody has – all of us on this call have – taken the time to educate and enlighten people about what it is that women bring, and without it the organisation is the poorer”.

The webinar ended with panel members sharing individual pledges to do what they can to enable greater balance in leadership. The audience were also polled on what more FMLM could do to support this.

The webinar recording is available below

Panel Chairs

  • Dr Daljit Hothi, FMLM Fellow and Associate for Leadership Development and Education, Consultant Paediatric Nephrologist and Associate Medical Director for Leadership, Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Foundation Trust
  • Dr Keerthini Muthuswamy, National Medical Director’s Clinical Fellow and FMLM Douglas Fellow 2021/22


  • Dr Bola Owolabi, GP, and Director of Healthcare Inequalities NHS England and Improvement
  • Dr Sarah Schofield, FMLM Founding Senior Fellow and primary care advisor to FMLM, independent chair of a Primary Care Network in Southampton
  • Professor Jacky Hayden, FMLM Founding Senior Fellow, GP, and President of the Academy of Medical Educators
  • Dr Rachel Weaver, National Medical Director’s Clinical Fellow 2021/22 at NHS England and Improvement and at the Academy of Medial Royal Colleges
  • Dr Josie Cheetham, FMLM Trainee Steering Group Lead for Wales and Lead on inclusive leadership
  • Rachael Moses, Head of Clinical Leadership Development within the Leadership and Lifelong Learning People Directorate at NHS England and Improvement
  • Tara Hewitt, Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at the Northern Care Alliance NHS Foundation Trust and Founder of the NHS Trans Staff Network
  • Kamal Dhesi, Patient advocate and co-lead for the National Paediatric Kidney Quality Improvement Programme

 FMLM webinar: How do we support women to realise their full potential?

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