Elaine Hunter FRCOT, MSc, BSc (Hons) DipCOT National Allied Health Professions Consultant
In 2013, I delivered the prestigious Elizabeth Casson Memorial lecture and also wrote an article on the topic of Transformational Leadership in Occupational Therapy – delivering change through conversations. (Hunter 2013). In 2021, I was then invited by the Elizabeth Casson Trust to write a blog to share my experience of being nominated, my approach to writing my memorial lecture and to reflect on my key messages delivered in 2013 and consider, are they still relevant in 2021? I have then added some reflective questions for you to consider. So, grab a cuppa, find a quiet space and here goes…….
My experience of being nominated
The application process of being nominated, at that time was confidential and the process starts well before you actually deliver the lecture. So, for me, it started with a confidential email early 2012, from what was the College of Occupational Therapy, to inform me I had been nominated and would I accept the invitation to deliver the lecture in 2013. Without hesitation I replied “YES”. So, at the COT annual conference in 2012 it was announced that Elaine Hunter would be delivering the prestigious Elizabeth Casson Memorial Lecture in 2013. And then the work begins!
My approach to writing my memorial lecture
In writing the memorial lecture, you have no guidance on your topic or delivery style but you know your lecture is to be engaging and inspiring. At the same time, you have to write an article for the British Journal of Occupational Therapy.
Being nominated was incredibly exciting however realisation strikes, the fear sets in, the excitement fades. I then approached the task in hand, like I do with anything, I made lists, I set personal goals and just got started. I reached out to previous Casson lecturers who were generous with their time and encouragement. I read previous Casson articles, held a twitter chat at OTalk, spoke endlessly to my peers, colleagues and friends and then my ideas on what to present developed and the excitement returned. I took the opportunity & centre stage to reflect, research, debate and discuss a theme that was important to me then and I still believe is today, leadership. I approached the lecture as a personal narrative, bringing transformation leadership to life as I explored what it meant to me personally, practically and professionally.
My themes: Then and Now
I started the lecture with my personal leadership journey as a narrative, sharing my occupational therapy career from student to national leader, the inspirational people I have worked with and remembering my many other roles as a mum, wife, sister, auntie (& now a great auntie) and daughter. It felt a risk, to start the lecture this way but I wanted to “make leadership accessible to everyone here, through sharing my journey”. In 2021, I was then invited to share the story of my career in 5 photographs, to inspire our future occupational therapists and you can read the blog here https://tinyurl.com/w9bkukpa
Reflection for you. What 5 images would you share to tell the story of your career?