Posted on: 9 February 2021

On Thursday 4 February 2021, Jameson (CNWL’s central London mental health division) played host to a virtual celebration of its staff working in administrative roles across the division.

Inclusion and backbone were the themes of the conference which seeked to recognise the hard work of admin staff and address the areas in which support could be improved. The event was hosted by Ade Odunlade, Jameson Managing Director together with Tasha Vandepeer, Jameson Business Manager.

92 colleagues tuned in to hear a fantastic array of speakers. Dr Ryan Kemp, CNWL’s Director of Therapies, started with a guide on ‘Staying Healthy in Stressful Times’. Dr Kemp spoke about anxiety and depression, the causes of these conditions and the ways in which people can help themselves during lockdown. He explored the benefits of exercise, consistent sleep patterns and talking therapies whilst explaining the pitfalls of alcohol and social media.

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Some guidance for mental health courtesy of Dr Ryan Kemp’s Presentation

Faye Rice, Associate Director for Strategy, System Transformation and Partnerships, emphasised the valuable contributions administrative staff make within Transformation whilst also addressing the challenges:

“[Admin Staff] are often at the sharp end of stress... They hold their own workload whilst also supporting everyone else’s”Faye Rice

Existing and developing support

There was then an overview of the Jameson’s Occupational Development Plan presented by Ela Pathak-Sen, Westminster Borough Director, and Angela Neblett, Occupational Development Consultant. During this segment, colleagues were empowered – through the group chat function – to share their ideas on how Jameson could improve support systems for its admin staff. This led to spirited discussion and some excellent suggestions on everything from training and career progression to supervision and appraisal.

Principles and vision

Carina Sheridan, Lead Speak Up Guardian for CNWL, explained how her role provides another channel for staff to raise concerns about risk, malpractice or wrongdoing. When people feel unable to address this through the usual channels such as through their line manager, Speak Up Guardians can offer support and advice on how to address matters further.

Career progression

J’nelle James inspired everyone with the story of her 15-year career journey (so far) from Ward Clerk in a mental health ward to the Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in CNWL. She addressed the various barriers she had faced and emphasised the importance of professional mentorship. She went on to talk about her experience co-founding the Aspiring Leaders Programme – an initiative that supports staff in entry-mid level admin positions to get to the next step in their careers.

Emily Richardson, Head of Corporate Education, followed with a comprehensive look at the different forms career progression can take. She focused particularly on the exciting array of apprenticeships available and the benefits of personal development plans.

The attendees were then split into breakout sessions which included further presentations from Dr Ryan Kemp, Ela Pathak-Sen, Angela Neblett and Emily Richardson. Each presentation shed new light on the various avenues available to admin staff. The responses in the group chat became increasingly enthusiastic:

“As someone who is new to the Trust, I cannot begin to say how incredibly inspiring and rewarding the conference has been so far. There are not many professional working environments that encourage real conversation around real concerns, challenges and personal ambition of its workforce”Honey Oyindamola Teslim

Awards ceremony

After a run of inspirational presentations, it was time to celebrate some staff success. An overwhelming number of people had been nominated and it proved very difficult for the panel to pick just three winners. After much deliberation from the panel, the Jameson Admin Conference winners are as follows:

Rising Star

Rakesh Parbat

Administration Lead at Harrow CMHT hubs

Above and Beyond Award

Paula Faucher

Medical Secretary at Brent EIS

Soul of the Team

Felicia King

Administrator at Westminster Adult CMHT

Ade Odunlade brought the event to a close by thanking all the presenters and admin staff that had attended. He said: “This is just the beginning of conversations, you all have a seat at the table and we want to invest in you”.