Meet our conference speakers: Wanda Wyporska

The 2019 edition of our annual conference will take place at the Business Design Centre in London on 21 November, and will focus on Leading Outside the Ordinary. The full programme is available on the website, and in this blog series, you will get the know our speakers a little bit better.

Dr Wanda Wyporska is the executive director at The Equality Trust. At the conference, she will take part in a panel to discuss how leaders of non-environmentally focused charities should be reacting to the climate emergency.

What’s your favourite thing about working in the social sector?

I love the opportunity to raise important issues that I care about and that are not always on the agenda. Working with a range of people who care about social justice and are prepared to live their values inspires me when the going gets tough.

What does leading outside the ordinary mean to you?

I’ve always been an outsider and so I’ve always been frustrated at the slow pace of change, the reluctance to innovate or experiment and the conformity of large organisations. As executive director of The Equality Trust, I am able to facilitate swift action, ensure that we are agile as an organisation and that we can take advantage of a range of opportunities that come our way and which we can create. It sounds like a cliche but we have to find our true selves and lead as the passionate people we are. For some of us, it is also about representation of our various protected characteristics, which can be a huge burden as well as a privilege. This sometimes complements and sometimes overshadows our work. 

What’s your favourite thing to do for your own wellbeing?

As a parent I have no choice other than to be quite grounded by everyday life and ensuring that I am there for sports days, carol services and school plays. My favourite way of unwinding is to read or go to the gym or run outdoors. I’m also an obsessive crafter, so anything from sewing to spinning to embroidery will get me into the flow. I’m always looking for ways to engage in craftivism, bringing my two passions together to change the world!

Why do you think it’s important to attend networking events?

I’ve really learned the value of networking and the role it plays in meeting other leaders. From a black and Asian leaders retreat to late-night ranty dinners, I’ve had some really enlightening conversations which have helped me with practical issues, supported me in dealing with issues and made me feel like I am not alone. At an ACEVO women’s meeting, I was really delighted to see more Asian and black female leaders, as we are rather rare in the sector. We were able to have frank discussions about everything from recruitment to boards, to wellbeing and future plans.

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