Spotlight On: Ola Hill, Deputy Organisational Resilience Manager, on being seen as COVID-19 leader
As part of our Black History Month #ProudToBe celebrations, we spoke to Ola Hill, Deputy Organisational Resilience Manager, about her role in the COVID-19 response and how she is seen as a leader by CCG colleagues.
“I joined the CCG literally the day after lockdown. The first lockdown was 23 March 2020 and I joined the 24 March 2020 originally as the Risk and Governance Manager but because I came from an emergency planning background, was redeployed into the Emergency Preparedness, Resilience and Response (EPRR) team.
“I had to hit the ground running and really got stuck into supporting the organisation’s response. I was embedded into the Comms cell and it was about managing the messaging, warning and informing not just staff but the public too.
“During the first wave, I led on the deployment of PPE which was a challenge for BLMK right from the outset with restricted access across all of our services. I facilitated that with the support of fantastic colleagues from our partners including Local Authority, the fire, ambulance, and police services as part of the Local Resilience Forums (LRFs). BLMK sits within two LRFs, one for Bedfordshire including Luton and one for Milton Keynes. So working across two areas brought challenges along with it.
“For the second wave, I supported with testing, especially key workers. We previously had the Swab Squad championed by Bernie Harrison so my role was taking that and rolling it out wider to support access for key workers.
“Once the third wave hit, I got into the vaccination deployment programme and helping to build the infrastructure around that, working with the regional team and partners such as Hertfordshire Community Trust to deliver vaccinations.
“My contribution to responding to COVID-19 has been varied but I would describe myself as flexible. I like to think my response in the way that I like to work as just being open to change and to be able to flex.
“Through those experiences I have learnt that the human spirit is extremely resilient and NHS colleagues are amazing people. I joined right at the start and in a remote working environment so it was tricky to learn the lay of the land but people really just galvanised and I never felt like I was the new kid on the block. Something that has really stood out personally and professionally was the partnership working and how really if we focus on working together, we can get things done much more quickly and effectively.
“I do think people will reflect when this over about how much they’ve grown as individuals, I know I certainly have.
“To be seen as a leader is about mucking in and really being genuine. I think people respect people who are genuine and are inspired by compassion.
“I’d like to think that one of the things I’ve developed even more as we’ve gone through the pandemic is compassion and not just compassion in terms of patient care, but compassion for colleagues and for oneself.
“For anyone that is wanting to develop in their career and wanting to become a leader, remember, leadership is at every level of the organisation. You don’t have to be a senior manager to be a leader and anyone that can be trusted to get things done, to inspire people and support colleagues is considered a leader in my view.
“I think if you have a drive and you want to inspire people, you want to bring change, you want to do better then people will follow you. I’m inspired by my team all the time and I count them as leaders as well.”