Speaker Claudine Blamey talked to us about her career journey and her private life. On the one hand she is a female entrepreneur and ready to cross borders and on the other hand she is a mother. How is all this kept under control?
Claudine Blamey has been Head of Sustainability and Stewardship at The Crown Estate since April 2015. She is responsible for the sustainability strategy for the business and champions its ‘Total Contribution’ approach, a methodology to measure the economic value of the impact the business has on its resources and networks.
Claudine joined from SEGRO where she was Head of Sustainability. Prior to this she was Director of Corporate Responsibility at British Land where she was responsible for Group corporate responsibility policy, implementation and communication.
Claudine is the Chair of the Institute of Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability (ICRS), and Board member of Business in the Community (BITC) and the Mace Group Responsible Business Board. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) and a frequent and well regarded conference speaker on corporate responsibility and sustainability. She was previously a Board member of the UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) and Chair of its Policy and Communications Committee.
The Power of Persuasion and Authenticity
In my 20 years career I have discovered that strong leadership is the key to achieve goals. I have been lucky enough to have worked for some very good leaders and to learn from them.
I remember in my first job at Honda speaking to one of the senior managers who said to me, “tell me why I should do what you say?” I realised at that moment the most important skill I need to develop as a leader is the power of persuasion and authenticity. So I did!
In my next role, I realised I was working in an industry that would really benefit from integrating sustainable thinking into strategies and I used my influencing skills to set bold goals that paid off and changed the industry to think differently. From this experience, I think leadership is about changing the world for the better.
My mentors have always pushed me to innovate and to push boundaries. Throughout my career, I have tried to make a real difference. I have given back by working with enthusiastic leaders in corporate responsibility and sustainability profession to set up the world’s first Institute for Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability (ICRS). This was a big learning curve for me, starting an organisation from scratch.
It’s not easy being a mother, a wife and a leader at the same time. It is hard to stay fit, happy and try the best that you can when there are only 24 hours a day. How do we juggle? What should take priority? I have struggled with this for many years. I’m afraid I don’t have the answer, but what I do have is maybe some tips that worked for me.
Tips for a working mum
I let myself off the hook a lot; on those days where there is so much to do, I just say to myself, some of it can wait. Immediately after this prioritisation, I feel a lot calmer and things become much more manageable. I often have many plates spinning at once, and I have come to terms with the fact that not all the plates are going to have a soft landing and not going to break. Sometimes they just do!
“I’m not perfect and proud of it!”
Surrounding yourself with really capable people that you feel comfortable delegating to, has been a lifeline for me. Being perfect is not a great leadership quality, so I don’t try to be perfect anymore! This takes off so much pressure. Taking the time for myself and doing something that is just for me also keeps me sane.
I really enjoy what I do and as soon as it becomes something that is no longer enjoyable, I know I need to find my next challenge to tackle. I like to create transformational change and that is why I have developed a career in sustainability. A great leader, called Mahatma Gandhi, once said: “Be the change you want to see in the world.” That is how I know what I’m doing is worthwhile, is it creating a better world?