Celebrating great leadership stories in Wales helps make a big statement about a small country


It seems incredible to realise that the 11th Leading Wales Awards go live for nominations once again in January 2015. We remain the only Awards absolutely focused on individual leadership and its impact, driven by that sharp focus because of a shared passionate belief that leadership at all levels of responsibility and in all sectors is critical to helping us build #thewaleswewant. Core to doing that is #buildingtheeconomywewant.

The Leading Wales Awards have stayed absolutely true to their declared mission “To champion good leadership and influence leadership development by recognising, identifying and celebrating individuals, who through their leadership contribute to the prosperity of Wales.” Back in the early days, I remember being advised that this was a “lofty concept” however over the years since the partners first sat down and pondered developing an Awards programme the growth in discussion about leadership, the development of leadership programmes and the recognition that leadership is quite different (but must be inter woven with) good management has grown at a pace. We hope we have been part of this critical development by highlighting and celebrating so many diverse individuals whose leadership is making a real difference in Wales.

The Leading Wales Awards continues to be taken forward by its Consortium partners of ACCA Cymru Wales, CBI Wales, CMI Cymru, Harding Evans Solicitors, Hilton Cardiff, Learning Pathways Cymru and the Wales Council for Voluntary Action (WCVA).

Ben Cottam has been Head of ACCA Cymru Wales for 7 years and just one of his responsibilities that he defines on his LinkedIn profile is that he “directs the implementation of our strategic approach in Wales to position ACCA as a leading professional body, a thought leader and a key business organisation which contributes authoritatively to the development of the finance profession and the Welsh economy.”

In that context and as a Leading Wales Awards Consortium Partner I asked Ben for some of his views about leadership.

What have been the main highlights and challenges for you in your leadership role?

“Facing and dealing with change in a positive way and trying to turn challenge into opportunity for our organisation in Wales. Growing a close, reliable and supportive network of peers has been essential in supporting me and helping me grow as a leader.”

Why do you believe celebrating effective and inspirational leadership in Wales is so important?

“Wales undersells itself in many ways. By celebrating the great leadership stories across organisations, we can highlight the positive change this makes to our economy and communities and make a big statement about a small country.”

What do you think is the biggest issue facing leaders in Wales in 2015?

“Coming to terms with the fact that economic turbulence is the new ‘normal’. This demands a different, more adaptable approach to leadership.”

Which other leaders in Wales do you admire and why?

“Henry Engelhardt of Admiral is in my opinion a leader who is visionary, accessible, and inspirational and has a strong sense of place and community.”

What is one word that sums up leadership for you?


I’ll continue to collect views from other partners and sponsors and share them over the coming weeks via twitter.

How would you as a leader respond to these questions? Join in the conversation!

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