CEO: ‘Help to Grow Helped me Prioritise, Navigate & Implement Change’

Kerry Smith is the CEO of Kent Coast Volunteering. She took the government-backed Help to Grow Management course this year at Kent Business School. 

“I applied for the Help to Grow Management course after a merger of three charities which was closely followed by the impact of Covid-19 and lockdown. It became very real to me that there was a need to rise above operational issues and focus on driving the organisations future growth and sustainability.

The course seemed like opening a door to becoming a confident business leader. Yes, we are a charity but voluntary does not mean amateur, if we want to succeed then we have to learn to run in the same way as a business.  I knew that I needed to elevate my skill set but I didn’t know where to start.

If I had to pinpoint one area that I really enjoyed it was the group exercises. It was fascinating to hear about other businesses, the challenges they each face and how they had sought to address issues. The group exercises served to reinforce that leaders in business/charities face similar challenges and issues and that we can learn from each other – there was so much experience in the room supported by the expertise of the tutors.

But overall, I really loved everything about the course. The comprehensive content, the skill of the tutors, the group exercises, the comprehensive notes, the peer group sessions, the mentor support.  On the occasions when I struggled because I felt overwhelmed or because I didn’t understand something, the supporting features of the notes, video clips and peer group and group discussions all came into play and helped clear the fog and promote understanding.

The course was inspiring and more importantly it helped me identify where change was needed; as well as give me the confidence to prioritise, navigate and implement change.”

Kerry’s tips for taking on the Help to Grow Management Course

  • Embark on the course knowing that you have to commit to it for 16 weeks (including the breaks).
  • your work and personal diary and give yourself the space to fully engage with the course.
  • Get all the dates in the diary at the beginning.  Give yourself space to get the most out of the learning.
  • Take time to watch the video clips, they are full of insights.
  • If you keep on top of the weekly lessons and reading then the course will be an energising and rewarding experience!
  • If you do have moments when you feel overwhelmed, then speak up because you will not be alone.  Everyone is juggling their business with learning – it’s good to share.

Find out more about signing up for the next offering of Help to Grow Management at Kent Business School

For information on our next cohort in February, email 

(Photo by Louise Viallesoubranne on Unsplash)


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