Leadership Conversations 2024-2025

Below we set out the dates and themes for our Conversations through to June 2025. Some Conversations are marked “Fellows only” because attendance is restricted to Leadership Fellows. Others are marked “Fellows+” because we are very happy to welcome Fellows’ nominees, such as a member of their top team or a key business partner.

Participants in Conversations from September to December 2024

Here is an up-to-date list of participants joining us for Leadership Conversations from September to December 2024.

Details are also are available on the Agenda page for each Conversation.


Leadership Themes:

Our programme is organised around 2 core themes:

Wisdom and Personal Growth

Providing a space for a deeper authentic enquiry into the character, purpose and ambition of our leadership.

Practical Wisdom For These Times

Providing an opportunity to share practical experience, expertise and learning around key contemporary issues.

To read more about these new themes please click here.


Leadership Conversation
Leader to Leader Exchanges via Zoom
September 2024 to February 2025
27th Sept, 18th Oct, 15th Nov, 13th Dec, 17th Jan, 14th Feb - From 12.00pm - 2pm
This is a unique opportunity to be in a longitudinal learning conversation with fellow leaders over a period of 6 months. It is a forum in which we will openly share and honestly examine our own responses as leaders to events and experiences as they unfold over time.

In this next series, we will explore the topic of 'Navigating in a turbulent world'. We will focus on three themes in particular: Pace, Space and Grace.

Fellows only/ Facilitators: Chris Blakeley & Karen Stefanyszyn
Fee: £320 for the 6 session series
See the Agenda
Leadership Conversation
Enough is Enough - *Fully Booked*
From 6.00pm on Thursday 12th September 2024 until 4.00pm on Friday 13th
As leaders we can often feel that we are over-stretched, under-resourced, and that we and our teams just have far to much to do. Such feelings can extend into our personal lives too. This pressure can lead to anxiety, stress, and even ill-health.

A counter to this is the concept of ‘enough’ - as leaders, stewards of our organisations, and as individuals, looking through the lens of ‘enough’, we will explore how to live and work in a sustainable way over the long term. How to be enough, do enough and have enough individually and collectively in these challenging times.

We will look at our experience of:

  • the prevailing mindsets of scarcity or excess and their effects
  • the internal and external forces driving behaviours
  • being enough, working with the imposter phenomenon, and developing true presence
  • doing enough, in environments of constant demand and ambition
  • having enough, sustainable growth, wisdom, connection
  • knowing when to stop, ‘the art of done’
  • on the basis of this understanding, we will then uncover the real-life wisdom available to us to apply the enough mindset to our life and work

    Fellows+/ Facilitators: Chris Blakeley & Karen Stefanyszyn
One-night Leadership Conversation fee: £810
See the Agenda
Leadership Conversation
Staying Human with AI - *Fully Booked*
From 6.00pm on Tuesday 24th September 2024 until 4.00pm on Wednesday 25th
Artificial Intelligence (AI) in all its forms has been with us for some time now in the cloud based systems and services we use everyday. The change today is that it is now central to the workplace. Our organisations will start to use AI as assistance in the first place and then, as its “intelligence” increases in function, to replace many jobs - hopefully releasing human creativity and ingenuity for higher value activity…..

How will we as leaders work personally and professionally with this tidal change? What will we as humans do when the bulk of the current world's information work is completed by AI?

It is here now so let’s have a conversation about how we can bring about positive change and wisdom utilising AI. In particular to:

  • Discuss AI's emerging role in the workplace with fellow leaders
  • Explore how we harness AI for good change and wisdom in leadership
  • Consider the risks and fears relating to AI (whether founded or not)
  • Explore our roles when AI takes on a significant portion of information work
  • Ponder 'What does it mean to be human?' in the AI era
  • Collaborate on strategies for adapting professionally to AI's tidal change
  • Discuss what controls might be needed in our organisations

    Fellows+/ Facilitators: Tony Wood & Chris Blakeley
One-night Leadership Conversation fee: £810
See the Agenda
Leadership Conversation
Wisdom and Courage in Generative Leadership
From 6.00pm on Sunday 13th October 2024 until 12 noon on Wednesday 16th
The four big words in this title represent a powerful constellation. Take any one away and something ‘less-than’ starts to happen in the world. In this Conversation we will explore the growth, balance and flow of these qualities in our own leadership and in the culture we engender around us.

Progress is all about breakthrough, the way a shoot breaks through the soil. That is what we mean by generative, or regenerative, leadership. What it takes to release the latent potential or solution that lies below the ‘crust’ of old patterns, assumptions and behaviours that are no longer serving us.

Courage is about the honest determination to do what it takes and not to settle for the ‘less-than’.
Leadership is the call we all share to make a difference in the world.
Wisdom is the mysterious, hard-won quality that has us able to know:

  • When, how where, breakthrough is needed and how to spot the signs
  • When to be bold, strong, fearless and when to be calm, patient, nurturing
  • When to break the soil or prune the tree and when to tend or train
  • When to stay the course, when to flex with the flow

    Fellows only/ Facilitators: Chris Blakeley & Karen Stefanyszyn
Three-night Leadership Conversation fee: £1440
See the Agenda
Leadership Conversation
Regenerative Leadership
From 6.00pm on Wednesday 27th November 2024 until 12 noon on Friday 29th
What does it really take to lead in the 21st century?

This Conversation seeks to open up a new thread for the Fellowship, which we will follow through in subsequent events. In this first one, we will explore what it takes to release a different quality of thinking in the way we lead today. We can view it as a movement from an ‘acquisitive’, to a ‘sustainable’ and into a ‘regenerative’ mindset.

We will consider:
  • How we stay mentally alert to the possibility of regenerative breakthrough
  • How we work with ‘stuckness’ and the ‘frustration energy’ this contains
  • How true breakthrough emerges - in robust dialogue of apparently conflicting ‘truths’
  • How we bring ‘living system’ wisdom into our organisational routines
  • The bigger picture: our role as stewards, leading with future generations in mind

    Fellows+/ Facilitators: Chris Blakeley & Karen Stefanyszyn
Two-night Leadership Conversation fee: £1080
See the Agenda
Leadership Conversation
Leadership in a Regulated Environment
From 9.45am until 4.30pm on Tuesday 3rd December 2024
Are you a CEO or leader working in a rigorously controlled environment such as public service, health or tightly regulated industries? Do you find yourself grappling with power dynamics and feeling powerless at times, despite a title that would suggest otherwise.

Join us for a deep dive into the subtleties of leadership in such a context where wisdom and collaboration are key, and where power and regulatory dynamics can often leave us feeling frustrated or powerless, or both! We will share experiences, insights and practical tips for navigating the complex landscape of regulations, policies, and stakeholders.

We will share the unique space of St George's House to:
  • Explore with fellow CEO’s the nuances of leading in regulated environments
  • Discuss balancing competing needs, effective collaboration, and power dynamics
  • Share practical tips to navigate complex regulatory landscapes
  • Delve into specific challenges and opportunities that arise in controlled sectors
  • Learn and develop strategies from each other for driving innovation, building effective partnerships, and achieving success.

    Fellows only/ Facilitators: Tony Wood & Karen Stefanyszyn
One-day Leadership Conversation fee: £490
See the Agenda
Leadership Conversation
Grit and Flair
From 6.00pm on Thursday 23rd January 2025 until 4.00pm on Friday 24th
This will be a Conversation about performance – we hope and trust a lively and creative shared enquiry into something very gritty!

The impetus has come from conversations with a number of Fellows who have been finding themselves having to ‘dig deep and keep on going’, with the inevitable question of ‘when is enough, enough’? The answer to that seems to lie not so much in the outcomes but in the energy – digging deep for something that is ‘worth it’ and something which, however tough, draws something new, creative and exciting from us – ‘flair’!

The analogy that immediately springs to mind is that of a racing driver – when to hit the accelerator, when the brake. Or a writer finding their flow in the wrestle with words and ‘truth’. In leadership it may be as simple, and radical, as being in all it takes to lead and still enjoy it!

Fellows+/ Facilitators: Chris Blakeley & Karen Stefanyszyn
One-night Leadership Conversation fee: £810
Leadership Conversation
Charisma and Presence
From 6.00pm on Tuesday 18th February 2025 until 4.00pm on Wednesday 19th
When are you most in need of charisma and presence as a leader? How do you find it? How do you lose it? And what happens when you do?

This will be a genuine wisdom enquiry in which we draw on our lived experience as leaders to explore some or all of the following:
  • What is charisma, when and how is it essential in our leadership?
  • What are its risks and limits?
  • How do you cultivate it, if indeed you can? How does this sit with authenticity and vulnerability in leadership
  • What is ‘presence’ and how and why is this powerful?
  • How do we sustain it and what happens when we lose it or lack it?
  • How do we channel this energy wisely in our leadership relationships to strengthen trust and release potential?
  • How do we cultivate these qualities in the leaders around us?

    Fellows+/ Facilitators: Chris Blakeley & Tony Wood
One-night Leadership Conversation fee: £810
Leadership Conversation
Space to be... Leadership Retreat
From 6.00pm on Wednesday 12th March 2025 until 12 noon on Friday 14th
“To Advance, retreat!” – paradoxical though it may seem! There are times when we just know we need to get away – to breathe, get fresh perspective, renew our strength and purpose. Often of course these are the very times when we least feel like it! So can we invite you to challenge yourself as you read this?

The title of this Conversation came from our Fellows Dinners. The summary of the discussion around one of the tables was about what was most needed from us as leaders in this day and age.

The French writer Roland Barthes said pretty much the same thing,

“There is only one way left to address the challenges of present day society: to retreat ahead of it”.

So, we decided to offer it as a Conversation.

Fellows only/ Facilitators: Chris Blakeley & Karen Stefanyszyn
Two-night Leadership Conversation fee: £1080
Leadership Conversation
Promote or Fire: Navigating Challenging Relationships in Leadership
From 9.45am until 4.30pm on Wednesday 9th April 2025
Promote or fire? Strange but both these apparently polar choices may be right. The starkness of the decisions invites us to look more closely: something isn’t working out, what do we do about it? Promote …? Fire..? or, how often, do we just do nothing and soldier on. The key issue is how consciously the quality of consciousness with which we make these decisions.

This Conversation invites us to get real and share our hard won wisdom about the dynamics of leading leadership teams, where so many of our hopes and ambitions rest on the shoulders of key appointments and their capacity to bring their full potential to work generatively and purposefully together.

Our aim will be to open up challenging questions, share practical tools and access deeper reflective insights from our experience of navigating the complexities of leadership team dynamics – and how to make informed decisions about promotions and terminations while fostering a supportive and productive work environment.

Fellows only/ Facilitators: Chris Blakeley & Tony Wood
One-day Leadership Conversation fee: £490
Leadership Conversation
Leadership Focus and Attention
From 6.00pm on Tuesday 6th May 2025 until 12 noon on Friday 9th
We all know that what we focus on as leaders gets done. It is therefore probably the single most important aspect of our leadership. There are always too many things to do. So we have to choose what we focus on. There’s the nub of the challenge.

The core quality that underpins this is our attention. But our attention needs attending to! Why? Because it is often reactive and ‘caught’ by the wrong things. We often talk about ‘paying attention’ which is an interesting metaphor. What do we ‘pay’ with? All too often it is with a life not lived, opportunities lost – all the things we could have done or made happen (or just enjoyed!) if we had not been distracted, or focused on the wrong things.

We will explore and enquire into:
  • Things that seem to be ‘crowding out your attention' or sucking up all your time – and why?
  • Things you are not getting to that you really want to?
  • Things you can see developing in your context that are starting to ‘catch your eye’ and, whilst smaller now, may be of huge significance soon?
  • Any sense in your gut that something just doesn’t ‘feel quite right’ but you either don’t know what it is or can’t put your finger on why?
  • How you might relax and start enjoying your life more as a leader rather than over-worrying, or over-striving.

    Fellows only/ Facilitators: Chris Blakeley & Karen Stefanyszyn
Three-night Leadership Conversation fee: £1440
Leadership Conversation
Power and Responsibility: Navigating Leadership Dynamics
From 6.00pm on Tuesday 3rd June 2025 until 4pm on Wednesday 4th
In this Conversation we will make the most of the special, high trust culture of the Fellowship to hold a full, frank exploration of our relationship with power as leaders. In particular we will explore the subtle dynamic between power and responsibility - ‘With great power comes great responsibility’, as the Spiderman adage has it. But this is true the other way round too, when we step up and take responsibility we need to ensure we are wise to the power dynamics of this – otherwise we may succumb to weariness and disillusionment.

We will be enquiring into:
  • Personal and Historical Contexts of Power: how individual experiences from childhood to adulthood shape perceptions of power and responsibility.
  • Organisational Dynamics of Power: how it works overtly and covertly within complex systems, its impact on institutional structures and how to work wisely with this.
  • Power and Its Consequences: the true responsibilities and false projections that come with power, the potential for misuse, and the ethical dilemmas leaders face.
  • Power in Action: Strategies for harnessing power effectively to achieve desired outcomes while maintaining integrity and respect for others.
  • ‘Power-plays’: both positive and negative. How to bring our true power into play and help others do the same; how to challenge power games and the abuse of power.
  • Personal reflection: understanding our own power, its impact and limits; exploring our own questions on how to use and grow it - confidently, wisely and responsibly.

    Fellows +/ Facilitators: Karen Stefanyszyn & Tony Wood
One-night Leadership Conversation fee: £810
Leadership Conversation
Leading in a Polarised World
From 6.00pm on Wednesday 18th June 2025 until 4pm on Thursday 19th
This is a topic that seems to be emerging as one of the most important amongst our Fellows. Whether it is people ‘entrenching’ around diversity issues, or the hardening of political positions, or a tendency to resort to legalistic process instead of dialogue. More and more we are encountering situations with people entrenched deeply in polarities and/or a experiencing a climate where there is an inherent tendency for people to spin off rapidly into polarised positions.

Our purpose in this Conversation is both to seek to understand this more fully – what is driving this polarisation – as well as to share wisdom as leaders about how to handle this tendency to polarise and harness it as a productive force.

We will cover:
  • “Us v them” : Understanding the dynamics of polarisation in order to mitigate and channel the energy of conflict.
  • The ‘Ladder of Inference’: Exploring personal biases and their role in escalating conflicts.
  • The Impact of Polarisation: The challenges of facilitating dialogue among divided groups.
  • Balancing Conformity and Conflict: Navigating the tension between fitting in and asserting diversity.
  • Perspective: Enriching inner awareness to better understand our own and others’ viewpoints.
  • Adaptability and Flexibility: being versatile and resilient in our leadership, inspired by the philosophy of ‘being like water’.
  • Polarity Management: Using a polarity management tool applied to our own contexts to unlock the power and wisdom of ‘harnessing opposites’
  • Intervention: Focusing on strategic, high leverage, interventions – minimum effort, maximum effect - and the importance of timing.
  • Growth Through Extremes: how embracing the extremes can catalyse personal and professional growth, if we can bear it.

    Fellows +/ Facilitators: Chris Blakeley & Tony Wood
One-night Leadership Conversation fee: £810