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Behind the leader: Sarah Dewar, Everyturn Mental Health

About the interviewee: Sarah Dewar is chief people officer at Everyturn Mental Health and has over 20 years of experience in the HR sector, working as part of both private and not-for-profit organisations across the North East. Sarah has been in post since 2021, demonstrating her passion for people and the value that an engaged workforce can bring to an organisation. Sarah played a key role in implementing a new person-led, wellbeing strategy which has seen Everyturn win a CIPD North East Award for Excellence in Health and Wellness, as well as being named as a Great Place to Work and listed in the UK Top Workplaces for Women. Sarah also holds many voluntary roles within organisations across the region, working in a mentoring role for the Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development (CIPD) Aspiring HR Directors programme, and being a trustee for the charity Dance City, for whom she is Vice Chair of the Board and Chair of the Finance, Governance, and People Committee.

What is the most important thing to know about good leadership?

I’ve always been a firm believer that people should be at the core of everything an organisation does, as it is they who will ultimately lead to its success.

So, the most important thing about being a leader is knowing how you manage your people effectively as a wider team but also on a one-to-one basis, so you are getting the most out of them.

Creating real opportunities for development, recognition, and empowerment in innovative and responsive ways.

Name three leaders who inspire you.

Whitney Wolfe Herd –
The founder of Bumble and the first self-made female billionaire. I have listened to a number of podcasts with Whitney and really admire how she leads through being both authentic and vulnerable and the difference this transparent and honest culture makes.

John Amaechi –
I follow John through social media and have read several of his books, particularly enjoying The Promises of Giants. This focus around the ten promises that leaders can make to themselves is fascinating and I particularly like ‘I promise to be bold AND vulnerable’ and ‘I promise to be present, and not only when I need you’.

Ted Lasso –
After a busy and often emotionally demanding day in my job I have recently been unwinding by watching Ted Lasso. Not only does it make me laugh, but it reminds me of so many important aspects of leadership with these two quotes resounding with me in particular – ‘be curious, not judgemental’ and ‘what do I have to learn here?’

When you need a sounding board, where do you turn?

I always turn to my executive colleagues – we’ve worked hard to build a safe and connected team environment and I trust each of them as a sounding board.

What words of wisdom can you share with someone leading a team?

The best advice I could offer to someone when leading a team is to put your people at the core of everything you do and every decision you make.

Your team will be the key to any success you have, so making sure that they feel heard and feel valued is incredibly important, not only to make sure that they can give you their best work, but also to be motivated to advocate for and to play out your shared vision for your organisation. Listen to your people, they often already have the answers.

What is your go-to way to switch off?

Walking and going to the gym. I joined a fantastic local gym in 2019 with a real sense of community and I make sure I go there as often as I can to help me unwind and reset.

Tell us about Everyturn?

Everyturn, formerly known as Mental Health Concern, is embedded in communities here in the North East and across the country. We provide a range of specialist mental health services, in partnership with the NHS and local authorities, to improve the wellbeing of people who are struggling.

The part that the people team and I play is ensuring that our dedicated, compassionate team members are well-equipped with the support that they need to be able to thrive in what is a demanding job, to ensure that the communities we’re here to support don’t struggle alone.

Connect with Sarah on LinkedIn!

May 19, 2023

  • Ideas & Observations

Created by North East Times