Country Lead, Justin Blake on Community Building & Transformational Leadership
HundrED Country Lead for the UK, Justin Blake believes in the power of people, possibility and connections to support innovative education that enables children and educators to flourish and thrive in the 21st Century. He is a member of the Community of Practice connected with the Human Flourishing Program at Harvard and Leaders On Purpose Advisory Council, working with CEOs, business, government and NGOs to create a purpose-first regenerative economy and society that is good for people and our planet. He also works with the World Leadership Alliance Club de Madrid, the world's largest forum of 100+ former democratic Presidents and Prime Ministers strengthening leadership, education, wellbeing and democracy that delivers on a global scale.
I applied to be a Country Lead to help grow the HundrED global community and to be part of a movement for change increasing quality education across the UK and around the world.
There is an extraordinary story of Roger Bannister who was the first-ever athlete recorded in history to run faster than a four-minute mile in 1954. At the time this was believed to be impossible by the majority. However, his incredible world record did not last more than 2 months. In the following year more and more athletes ran sub-four-minute miles which had never happened before in history. His imagination inspired others to reimagine and redefine what was possible. We see this throughout human history in the story of social progress, creative innovation and reimagining education.
Why are you interested in education innovations?
I am interested in impactful innovation because it can create so much good in our society and our world. Quality education is one of the greatest drivers for global development. Creative innovative learning can create life-transforming opportunities for people in every country. More education for girls and greater empowerment of women would accelerate significant social and global progress. There is a growing movement for change around our world reimagining better education and I am delighted to be working in partnership with ABA, a creative agency that helps schools, leaders and education organisations to grow and thrive by supporting outstanding leadership and transformative school culture. We are supporting leaders, change agents, resource providers, publishers, school networks and schools themselves as they navigate a new world-building back better beyond Covid. Healthy culture and transformational leadership is a game-changer. Is it time to talk about transformational leadership and culture in your school?
What are HUK Meet-Ups and what motivates you to organise them?
HUK Meet-Ups are our HundrED virtual gatherings in the UK. I co-lead our UK Community Meet-Ups with Alex Bell. We are motivated to organise them to support and inspire our HundrED community and these virtual events are open to people in the UK and overseas. We have an amazing community of educators in the UK including thought and action leaders and national award winners. One of our members and ambassadors was recently awarded teacher of the year for further education. Our HUK community conversations are wonderful!
What are the most memorable moments shared in these events?
Memorable moments from our HUK gatherings in 2021 include our Regenerative Education GLocal virtual meet-up with a live link to the pioneering Eden Project in Cornwall in the UK which connects people to create a better and brighter future. Our event with James Shone, Founder of I Can and I Am was also inspiring.I Can and I Amis impacting schools, educators, young people and parents across the UK and around the world. We also had a very special meet-up during Black History month supporting greater diversity, equity and inclusion with a unique talk from Christo Brand.
You can read Justin's latest article: 'Why it's time to talk about culture' on page 30 of this magazine via this link.
Any tips for people wanting to engage more with their community?
Organise events with a focus on your areas of passion and interest. Invite those in your network to share your invites and bring others with them to help you improve meaningful connections and engagement. Let's be those who connect the dots with the very best of the global north and south, who build community and create greater connectivity. Invite people you know to share inspiring stories, innovations and practical examples to empower others to increase impactful innovation and quality education.
Fuel your community with positive energy, passion and inspiration and be patient - life is a journey not a sprint. It is a step at a time, moving consistently in the same direction.
Start small and dream big. Acorns in good conditions grow to become giant oak trees.
What are your dreams for the future?
Dreams and goals for the future and our events are to see more Ambassadors added to our HundrED Community, to create more meaningful connections and engagement across the UK and to see more impactful innovations across our community.
With the HundrED Community let's continue to connect, learn, grow and push forward innovation and system change together in service of better quality education and a better future. Following in the footsteps of social pioneers like the inspiring Ruby Bridges, Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela.
I also dream of more learning connected to living a life of meaning, service and purpose in our modern world and the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals - The World's Largest Lesson and Project Everyone is a great example of this.
What about our hopes and dreams for our schools and organisations in 2022?
This is likely to be a reset year when it comes to culture and leadership and I am optimistic about the possibilities because an ignited culture and greater leadership is the start of transformative education. If developing transformational leadership and culture is of interest, I recommend reaching out and connecting with ABA.
I also recommend the exciting education innovations of Ivy House, Globalbridge and PLEX and the inspirational virtual talks of Christo Brand, sharing unique stories, insights and learning from a close friendship with Nelson Mandela spanning many years. If you are interested in connecting with these education innovations or Christo, please reach out to me via LinkedIn or visit his website.
It is wonderful being part of our growing HundrED global community supporting impactful innovation in every continent. Together we can make more of a difference and have a greater impact.
Continue to imagine what is possible and stay true to who you are and your values. Anything is possible. As we imagine and shape the future of education we are collectively joining together and linking arms in service of shaping a better future for our society and our world and future generations. Let's remember Nelson Mandela's inspiring wise words:
'Education is the greatest way to change our world.'
Next HundrED UK Meetup: January 26th from 5-6 pm GMT with some great inspiring speakers, including FED. Everyone is welcome and bring a friend! Here is the Zoom link to attend:
- Meeting ID: 518 434 2599
Connect with Justin on LinkedIn here