Lectures and Events

Find out about our upcoming lectures and events. Free and open to all, if applicable you can find out how to register to attend below. If you are unable to attend live, you can access our recordings using the links.

Since 2013 we’ve been honoured to have a wide range of inspirational leaders delivering an annual lecture. In 2015, we dedicated our annual lecture to our founder and visionary leader, Professor Aidan Halligan. Our Annual Aidan Halligan Memorial Lecture provides a wonderful opportunity for our members and supporters to come together for an insightful evening. Find out more about our recent memorial lectures below.

Starting in 2020, we hosted a series of live virtual events, our Talking Heads: Talking Health series. You can find out more and watch the full series below.

In March 2022 we announced our exciting new series of interviews, “In Conversations with…” Providing an opportunity for you to hear from a wide range of influential leaders from health and beyond about their leadership journeys. We understand that many of you find it easier to watch ‘on demand’ than join us live.  In this new series recordings of our interviews will be available to watch on our website whenever you want, and will continue to be free and accessible to all.  

Aidan Halligan Memorial Lecture

This year’s Aidan Halligan Memorial Lecture was delivered by Professor Sir Jonathan Van-Tam, Kt, MBE, FMedSci, University of Nottingham’s Pro-Vice-Chancellor for the Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences and former Deputy Chief Medical Officer (2017-22).

In his lecture “Leading by Accident”, Jonathan spoke with his characteristic candour about how he found himself taking a pivotal leadership role during the Covid-19 pandemic. He reflected on the many leadership challenges he faced as well as the later success of the rollout of vaccines and antiviral drugs for the UK. He talked about the manner in which he communicated the data and science honestly to politicians, to ensure they had the information to make policy decisions. And shared what he’d learnt from being in a leadership role in government, as a non-politician.

You can watch Jonathan’s lecture here

Annual Aidan Halligan Memorial Lecture 2021
“Focus on People, the rest will follow” with Dr Navina Evans CBE
29 November 2021, 19:00-20:00, in person at Wellcome Collection and live streamed

Annual Aidan Halligan Memorial Lecture 2020
“The Truth Revealed in a Crisis” with Lord Victor Adebowale
24 November 2020, 18:30-19:15, Zoom

29 November 2021 saw our first hybrid, in person and also streaming live, Annual Aidan Halligan Memorial Lecture. Thanks to all who joined in person and virtually from around the world.

Our sincere thanks to Dr Navina Evans CBE, Chief Executive, Health Education England, for her inspiring talk ‘Focus on the People and the rest will follow’.

In her lecture, Navina shared powerful messages, searching and uncomfortable questions for leaders and touching personal stories. Navina spoke about the many narratives of equality and deep value of diversity for society, the importance of leaders understanding the impact of their behaviours and the role of feedback, the need to understand what we’re doing to prevent change and most crucially, the improvement in the quality of care for patients and their engagement with their care when leaders develop a culture of kindness and respect.

Just to top the Staff College playlist, we were even treated to a favourite Deming quote:‘Every system is perfectly designed to get the results it gets.’

You can watch Navina’s lecture here

Lord Victor Adebowale presented a provocative and passionate call to arms in the first virtual Aidan Halligan Memorial Lecture on 24 November 2020. Victor is Chair of Social Enterprise UK and the NHS Confederation and is a non-Executive Director of the Co-Operative Group, Collaborate CIC, Nuffield Health, Visionable and Leadership in Mind.

In his lecture, “The Truth Revealed in a Crisis”, he spoke about the underlying inequality within society that the global Covid-19 pandemic had exposed. He talked about the incredible advances that have been made in history, and can be made by a single individual, recognising an injustice and seeking to do something about it.
Touching on many issues close to his heart he highlighted the work to house homeless people during the first wave of Covid and what this showed us about the political and societal decisions that have led to people to be able to all-too easily fall through the cracks in the welfare state.

With questions from the audience ranging from how to ensure that the problems raised in reports and reviews are actually acted upon to how leaders can foster greater diversity within their teams and is there a risk of creating positive discrimination.

You can watch Victor’s lecture here

“In Conversations with….”

In Conversations with….Major General (Retd) Julian Free CBE, Deputy Vice Chancellor (People Services and Operations), University of Lincoln
October 2022

In the third of our series of conversations with influential leaders, we talked to Julian about the importance of establishing trust to enable mission command, the similarities and differences in the way the health service and public sector develop their leaders, how he has supported the development of future leaders, and how you can begin to collaborate and lead in more complex situations.

You can hear Julian in conversation here

In Conversations with….Dr Dominique Allwood
Chief Medical Officer and Deputy of the Academic Health Science Network at UCLPartners
August 2022

Dr Dominique Allwood, Chief Medical Officer and Deputy of the Academic Health Science Network at UCLPartners

In the second of our series of conversations with influential leaders, we talk to Dominique about her leadership journey and the inspiration and experiences that have transformed her and her leadership.

She answered questions from members on a variety of topics. From how she had been inspired and supported to step into leadership roles, maintaining resilience whilst juggling a portfolio career. To her views on the importance of clinical leaders using their influence to contribute to alleviating wider social challenges, including reducing the health service’s carbon footprint. Along with some sage advice for individuals considering how to take the first steps into leadership roles.

You can hear Dominique in conversation here

In Conversations with….Dr James Mountford
Director of National Improvement Strategy for NHS England and NHS Improvement
April 2022

In the first of our exciting new series, James talked about why improvement is so important to him and the role leaders play in creating the conditions to enable staff to discover how to do things better. He answered questions on topics ranging from embedding improvement practices in organisations, how QI approaches can support improving equality, diversity and inclusion and the efforts needed to enable improvers to have access to the data that matters.

You can hear James in conversation here

Talking Heads: Talking Health Series

You can watch them all here at a time to suit you!

Talking Heads: Talking Health with Mr Martin Griffiths

Our seventh Talking Heads: Talking Health session 2 June 2021 we were joined by Mr Martin Griffith, Clinical Director for the Violence Reduction Network in NHS London and the National Clinical Director for NHS England. Martin works as a consultant Trauma and Vascular Surgeon at Barts Health NHS Trust where he developed the nation’s first ward-based intervention programme for the victims of interpersonal injury, and has led the expansion of the public-health approach to violence reduction in the capital. He has an interest in integrating peer groups in the co-design of community and healthcare-based prevention and education programmes.

Martin spoke about what drew him to his work in public service.  He reflected on the lessons he has learnt as a leader including humility, seeing the issue in different ways, choosing to want to understand and empowering individuals.  He talked about his leadership journey and the challenges he has overcome which have seen him adapt his leadership style. 

He spoke about how he creates professional intimacy and a positive environment. As well as how he builds his personal capacity and what he believes in and does that help to maintain his own wellbeing. 

You can watch the event here

Talking Heads: Talking Health with Brigadier Toby Rowland

Our sixth Talking Heads: Talking Health, was on 21 April 2021. Brigadier Toby Rowland, Head of the Defence Medical Academy, reflected on his extensive and varied military career and his experience of the military’s approach to developing leaders. He spoke about his personal belief of taking the time to listen to and invest in your people. He discussed how the NHS can learn from the military’s experience in developing leadership, and apply the lessons in practice to support the deliver of the NHS People Plan and develop compassionate leaders.  

You can watch the event here

Talking Heads: Talking Health with Professor Martin Marshall

Our fifth Talking Heads: Talking Health, and the first of 2021 was on 9 March 2021. Professor Martin Marshall, Chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners and a GP in Newham, East London, talked about some of the leadership challenges and experience he’s gained through his varied roles.  He talked about the opportunity the pandemic provided for leaders to work faster and without some of the usual red tape, as well as the importance of maintaining a vision, bringing people with you, making difficult decisions early and using the influence of the RCGP to support national efforts and the vaccination programme.  He reflected on the challenges ahead for the workforce as they contend with the next crisis of the back-log and highlighted the potential for the acceleration towards a trend for part-time working and early retirement for primary care which could contribute to an ever-greater workforce crisis.  Martin also talked about the progress in developing leaders within primary care who could play a greater role in the integration of care pathways and Integrated Care Partnerships. 

You can watch the event here

Talking Heads: Talking Health Session with Charlotte Williams

Our fourth Talking Heads: Talking Health session took place on 9 December 2020. Charlotte Williams, Director of Strategy at Mid & South Essex NHS Foundation Trust, spoke about her work on pioneering programmes including the New Care Models Vanguard Programme, the London Cancer Collaborative, and recently with the merger of three Essex hospitals. She reflected on how she has adapted and evolved as a systems leader, the impact of working with experts, and how she maintains resilience.

You can watch the event here

Talking Heads: Talking Health Session with Professor Sir Sam Everington

Our third Talking Heads: Talking Health Session took place on the 6 October 2020. In a wide ranging talk, Prof Sir Sam spoke about his pioneering work in social prescribing and explained how this system is expanding nationally. He also outlined the key attributes and approach that he feels are required of leaders. He urged every leader to find something they feel passionate about and then to use this to develop ideas that can improve health for everyone. He discussed the numerous challenges he has faced and concluded by explaining the central role that he feels primary care should have in reducing excesses deaths post Covid-19. In the Q&A, Prof Sir Sam responded to questions about the ability to reflect before making decisions, the role of patient power, and the challenges of leading in large, complex organisations like the NHS.

You can watch the event here

Talking Heads: Talking Health Session with Professor Sam Shah

Our second Talking Heads: Talking Health Session took place on the 9 September 2020. With questions ranging from the impact on him as a leader of completing the Staff College Senior Leadership Programme, dealing with pressure, and how he leads when things go wrong. Sam shared his perspective working on a local, regional and national level and how he listens, questions and responds, to have the important conversations to allow him to lead the teams and deliver successful outcomes.

Unfortunately owing to a human glitch with technology we did not manage to record Professor Sam Shah sharing his thoughts about leadership. However we did record the Q&A session where members asked Sam about his experiences. Thank you to those who asked a question giving their consent for us to share this recording with you.

You can watch the Q&A session here

Talking Heads: Talking Health Session with Ajit Abraham, Staff College Principal

Our first Talking Heads: Talking Health Session took place on the 1 July 2020. With questions ranging from how Covid-19 has impacted on leadership within the health service, how mission command has been effectively used within some areas during the pandemic to the difficulties of leading when those in more senior positions don’t seem to be, Ajit shared his perspective as a front-line clinician and his unwavering belief that doing the right thing on a difficult day is key to be an effective leader.

You can watch the whole event here