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Amanda Garrard, Chief Executive of Berneslai Homes blogs about our CEO Forum 

As a newbie to PlaceShapers and a relatively new CEO, I of course jumped at the chance to be part of a small group of CEO’s agreeing to meet and well basically have a chat! With all the events and issues we have had to deal with over the last 12 months piled on top of starting my first CEO job at Berneslai Homes, the group has been invaluable to me.

There is no fixed agenda, just a chance to turn up with 6 other PlaceShaper CEOs from around the country and discuss whatever is of concern and share these with others. In addition to the free flowing agenda we have had a specific session to learn about the North Star journey, but most of the time much of the discussion is unplanned and spontaneous. The issues discussed have been wide ranging from the future use of offices to our approaches to equality, diversity and inclusion.

In a confidential environment it is a rare chance to share concerns, good practice and establish a network of new (and some old) contacts. Although I am sure many of us are linked into a wide range of networks, this is about having some time for you as an individual, with some peer support and sometimes just knowing its not just you dealing with  a particular issue. Although not a formal action learning set it has all the benefits and meeting over lunchtime has been very easy to fit into the working week.

Thanks to Charlotte and Rachael for setting this pilot up, after the first few session we have now agreed to meet every 2/3 months. I would certainly recommend similar groups being established  - and has certainly been one of the advantages of the new  virtual world.

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