From Redundancy To Career Progression – How Gaining Leadership Skills at Cardiff Met Helped Me

Sarah Clifford Photo

I’m Sarah Clifford, Operations Director for Chambers Wales and I completed the 20Twenty Leadership and Business Growth CMI Level 7 Programme in 2021. The programme is subsidised by the European Social Fund through the Welsh Government.

I’m responsible for setting the business’s long term sustainable strategy and for creating and implementing the Chambers vision and mission.

As a Senior Leadership Team, we focus on developing high-performing teams across the business. This helps to instil a culture that delivers relevance and value to the companies and industries of Wales.

Covid and Redundancy

I first heard of the course when I was working for Cardiff Airport as Head of Commercial and Sales. As a senior leader in the business, I was responsible for sustainable growth across the business.

I was looking at ways I could improve my leadership and management skills for future career progression. After seeing the course on Linkedin, I immediately knew it was what I had been looking for.

Unfortunately due to Covid, my role was made redundant at the Airport. Redundancy in the middle of a pandemic hit me particularly hard, and my mental health was suffering.

However, I was determined to finish and complete the course. I knew how rewarding and meaningful it would be in securing my next role alongside the incredible support from the team at Cardiff Met.

Leadership Skills In My New Role

Fortunately I was able to use the skills I had learned at Cardiff Met to help me secure a new and exciting role at Chambers Wales.

Chambers Wales is now going through a period of change. I am able to confidently lead on this change due to the skills that I gained in the course.

I have also been able to add value in the leadership and development of the team, through the marketing strategy and inject innovation and creativity into the decision making process.

Organisational Vision, Mission and Values

Simon Sinek’s ‘WHY’ has been instrumental in helping me shape and drive forward the vision, mission and values of Chambers Wales.

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs has also been useful when going through periods of change within the teams. It’s helpful in understanding why an individual’s personal and work motivation changes in response to events.

The course covered all areas that you need to consider for successful and sustainable leadership.

Out of all the subjects, theories, and areas of business we covered, one stood out the most; the importance of leadership in promoting innovation in an organisation.

I enjoyed learning about the innovation process, such as Clayton Christensen’s ‘Innovator’s dilemma’ and the LCD Model for Creativity.

A quote I still take with me daily is: “Purpose is one of the most essential ingredients for happiness” by Bertrand Russell.

Understanding my style of leadership and how this could positively affect the organisation has made me a much better leader and communicator.

As someone who left school after my GCSEs and perhaps not the most academic, I was extremely scared about putting myself forward, in fear of failure.

Doing this course took those fears away. It didn’t matter about my previous education, the support was there every step of the way. Don’t be afraid to admit that you don’t always take the right approach, and be open to new ways of doing things.