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Career transition update: March 2023

A month ago, I shared the news that I will step down as ALT’s CEO this September to focus on my work as a coach. It’s been a hectic few weeks since the announcement and I want to take a moment to step back and reflect. In 2018 when ALT started to work as a virtual team, we shared monthly updates on that transition and what we as a team learnt along the way. Just like big organisational change, leadership transitions like this too often happen behind closed doors. Obviously, like with any recruitment exercise, there are some aspects that are not appropriate to share as things progress, but I feel it could be useful to chart my perspective and share some of the experiences along the way.

Reflecting on the past month

After ALT made the announcement last month, I was overwhelmed by the many comments and messages I received. It was a wonderful moment for me and enabled me to connect with many people whom I have worked with over the past 15 years. It was bittersweet to be reminded of the many fun projects and events I have been involved in and to look back at how things have changed.

I have always felt valued at ALT, and the warm reaction to the announcement has only emphasised how much we have achieved in recent years and how much the work we do means to our Members. Although it has been bittersweet, it’s also felt right to me to have made the decision to move on.

Meeting candidates

The recruitment panel who will appoint the next CEO of ALT is chaired by Professor Helen O’Sullivan. My part at this stage of the process is to meet candidates for informal conversations about the role, and I have been enjoying these meetings very much.

It’s interesting to talk about how we work as an organisation, our journey through the global pandemic and what we are working on at the moment. I like answering all the questions candidates have, and to try and see the organisation through their eyes. As the recruitment process moves towards the application deadline next week, more and more of these meetings pop into my diary, and I am really pleased that I can play my part and help give candidates a sense of what it’s like to be ALT’s CEO day to day.

The most commonly asked question, other than those around finances and strategy, is what it’s like to be the CEO of a fully virtual team day to day, whether I meet my colleagues in person and what I find easy/hard about it.

Day to day

Outside of the recruitment process, not much has changed in my day to day work. I have a long notice period, and my planned departure date in September is still nearly six months away, so at this time, my work continues as before. This week, two new members of staff join our team, one providing maternity cover for our Admin Officer who had a baby earlier this year, and also a new colleague to lead our refreshed hybrid events programme.

With the OER23 Conference coming up in a few weeks, we have much to focus on and even more to deliver each week. One thing I am doing differently is documenting my work. I keep more meticulous notes than I might do otherwise and I make sure to document any processes I am the owner of, so that I can ensure a smooth handover when the time comes.

Interested in becoming ALT’s new CEO?

I can heartily recommend working for ALT! So, if you are interested in leading a learning organisation with a wonderful staff team and a dedicated Board of Trustees, head over to the ALT website to find out more, arrange an informal chat and apply. Applications close on 27 March 2023.