Published: July 31, 2022 | Updated: August 1, 2022

Evolve development day helps Students’ Union reconnect, plan & reset after Covid disruption

By Andrew Diprose, editor

A learning and development day saw the leadership team at Students’ Union at Bournemouth University (SUBU) come together to reconnect, plan and reset, following the disruption caused by Covid.

Hosted by Evolve, the Poole-based coaching and development company and business community, the day was facilitated by Evolve’s Warren Munson and David Mutton.

It was funded by Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership’s (LEP) Back to Business Initiative.

Eleven members of SUBU’s leadership team were guided through three Evolve workbooks: Motivation, Creating and Managing Change, and Leadership and Influence.

In line with Evolve’s approach to such sessions, the group was encouraged to be open about their challenges and concerns.

Samantha Leahy-Harland, pictured left, SUBU’S CEO, described the day as “amazing”.

She added: “I got exactly what I wanted out of it, which was after two years of all of us literally being on a screen at home, we’re finally just getting to know each other as individuals, realising what we’re about as leaders in our own areas.

“Having someone independent from the organisation to facilitate that for us was perfect, because it enabled me to sit back and be part of the team.

“I enjoyed letting Warren and David do all the heavy lifting.”

Other participants including Ayomote Omuwa, SUBU’s President; Alan Dove, Head of Commercial Services, and Jane de Vekey, Head of Student Voice and Policy, also praised the day.

Warren, Evolve Founder, said: “I love nothing more than getting a group of people together who are committed to becoming better leaders, and feeling that energy in the room when the discussion flows and everybody is learning with and from each other.

“From the very beginning, the environment was relaxed and open, as I believe this is the best way to get everyone to be honest about both their strengths and challenges.

“From this, genuine progress can be made, and those important individual and team goals achieved.”

Finn Morgan, pictured right, Business Engagement and Dorset Gateway Manager at Dorset LEP, added: “Our Back to Business Initiative, funded by BCP Council, allowed us to support a range of organisations that had endured challenges during the height of the pandemic, but were well placed to recover and grow.

“SUBU is strategically important for the region as an integral part of the Bournemouth University student experience, many of whom go on to work for companies in Dorset.

“With many of its commercial operations being closed and impacted greatly by remote learning and changing customer habits, we hope our support can help make a meaningful difference moving forward.

“It was a pleasure to see the SUBU management team benefitting from an insightful and engaging day.”