27th June 2017

Trustees speak on professional leadership at COT conference

The founder of this Trust, Elizabeth Casson, was a pioneer who saw opportunities and knew how to lead a movement that became the profession of occupational therapy in the UK.

The trustees, concentrating on ‘pioneer’ and ‘movement’ has, over the last couple of years, revised what it sees as its function in ‘furthering occupational therapy’. With a sharper focus on the collective profession, one of our strategic intentions is the development of professional leaders – those able to inspire others, influence change, communicate, network and be resilient. The Trust is calling these attributes the ‘behaviours’ of an effective leader and our focus is on ‘being’ and ‘becoming’ leaders rather than on skill acquisition concepts that are readily understood by occupational therapists.

The RCOT, as a partner in the project, invited the Trust to deliver the Professional Leadership Project as one of the College’s sessions at this year’s RCOT Conference in Birmingham. Well over 150 occupational therapists attended the session where the project was outlined and the progress to date explained. It was one of those goose bump moments when it was clear that what the Trust had been exploring was in strong resonance with what the people in the room were experiencing and wanted help with achieving. The presentation can be found at the link below. A blog on the can be found at

Participants were invited to provide suggestions about how the ECT might take the implementation stage of the leadership project forward and there were many ideas shared including the need for toolkits to include business case development, support through mentoring, identifying professional role models, using leadership case studies for learning, possibly a new specialist section for leaders and many more.

The energy in the room was contagious, such that around 40 people left their contact details and wanted to be involved in future developments. The ECT is keen to harness the enthusiasm and momentum and to work towards a sustainable way of ensuring that professional leadership stays high on the agenda and on everyone’s mind.

The ECT will be continuing its plans to implement Phase 3 of the project and will be having discussions with RCOT over the summer to identify potential areas for collaboration. Watch for further news on this page. Contact us at [email protected] if you have ideas to share.

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