Supporting organisations through periods of transformational change has become a growing area of focus for us at Baker Tilly Mooney Moore and we are delighted to once again partner with CO3 to deliver the Leading Organisation Change award.

Last year, the award celebrated the work of Anne Doherty, CEO of leading Northern Ireland mental health charity MindWise as a transformational leader in the Third Sector. We were thrilled to catch up with Anne one year on from her CO3 recognition as she continues to work to deliver stronger and better services to over 12,000 individuals affected by mental health issues.

Founded in 1972, MindWise exists to enact change and advancement in the mental health arena by challenging discrimination and providing quality support. Under Anne’s leadership, the charity has grown by over 37% since 2019, has consolidated many of the services and job roles within, and has delivered several change initiatives to ensure continued development and improvement within the organisation.

Three years on from Anne’s appointment, it now heads toward another transformative period with the implementation of a second five-year strategy, but this time with the added confidence of having succeeded in delivering more and improved services when faced with the challenge that was Covid-19.

The pandemic prompted a complete overhaul of the operating models within MindWise. A charity that exists ultimately to support individuals affected by mental health issues, it faced huge demand in March 2020, yet the ability to deliver as normal was restricted. Discussing her approach, Anne points to a collective leadership strategy that she believes is reflected in the ethos across the charity and results it delivers for local people.

Having previously operated predominantly in person, MindWise was transformed in a matter of days to deliver over 50% of its work online, a change that brought digital transformation forward from a long-term prospect to an immediate reality. In leading this change, Anne operated with a person-centred approach and sought the views of over 200 staff and volunteers regarding their own personal concerns, working arrangement needs and operational challenges caused by the pandemic.

For Anne, identifying and addressing the common reluctance to change is a key step to overcoming challenge. She believes shared decision making and consultation are vital, as well as visibility of leadership, consistent communication and engagement with clients and service users surrounding their needs.

Anne was awarded the Leading Organisation Change award in early 2021 after supporting MindWise to emerge from the pandemic with better connections across the team and stronger links with the clients they support. There is no doubt that strong direction and leadership was a key factor in this success. As a leader, Anne points to being a ‘listening organisation’ as a reason for their success, which involves regular ‘sense checks’ to gauge the mood of staff, volunteers and clients and incorporating that feedback into forward plans and decision making.

This level of consultation is vital for organisational development and allows employees and those at the heart of businesses and charities to be a critical friend and provide suggestions that will ultimately step up the organisation.

‘Stepping Up’ is the theme of the CO3 Leadership Awards 2022, which will celebrate those in the Third Sector who acted with strength, resilience, and agility to deliver for the most vulnerable throughout the pandemic.

The closing date for entries is Monday 31 January 2022. Click here to submit an entry.