Women in Leadership Series: Acting CEO, Su Greaves

On March 8th 2019, International Women’s Day (#IWD2019) will be celebrated with the campaign #BalanceforBetter; calling for a more gender-balanced world. I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to celebrate the achievements of women in leadership roles. I asked a number of female leaders to answer a series of questions about their experiences to share with you right here on the Ad Florem blog.

In this interview, we meet Su, Acting CEO. Read our Women in Leadership Interview Series to meet the other interviewees.

Su has held senior management positions for a number of years. She took early retirement, then after 9 months, set up as a freelance Management Consultant. This brought her to Oldham Training Centre where over a four year period, has offered a range of support to the senior management team.

Su, thank you for taking part in our Women in Leadership series. Tell us, what are the skills that you have that make you well suited to your role?

Leadership skills coupled with clear vision and focus.   Delegative, communicative and consultative style coupled with directness and authority when needed.  Knowledge, understanding and experience of managing organisational change.

Can you share one leadership lesson you have learned in your career?

That you need to bring staff along with you, in terms of vision and focus, and empower them in their roles so they can rise to the challenges business change brings.

Who inspires you, and why?

Ex CEO of Oldham Training Centre (died October 2018). She reluctantly stepped into a leadership role in 2012 and steered the business through the implementation of some tough business decisions. She utilised her skills of empathy, compassion, listening skills (staff concerns) and directness when needed.   Brave and dignified during terminal illness.

How do you balance work and life responsibilities? Do you have any practical tips?

Flexible contractual arrangements help!  Clear cut off point at home to ensure family members gain my full attention and time.  Clear work-life balance ethos and policy at work helps staff to appreciate the need for balance and privacy in their dealings with others.

Describe yourself in three words

Focused, friendly / approachable, and impatient.

Have you ever suffered with ‘imposter syndrome’? What does it mean to you?

It means to me: ‘inner critic’.  My inner critic tends to arise when, at various sector forums, I realise how much I don’t know about the apprenticeship sector and have yet to learn!

What challenges have you faced in your leadership career, and what tips do you have for how to overcome them?

Stepping into Acting CEO role without a lot of current knowledge regarding work based learning and apprenticeship contracts and sector. This was a steep learning curve.  Also being present in the role when the current CEO is off sick – fine balance needed with staff.


  • be clear about priorities
  • use skills and knowledge of others to help guide decisions and planning
  • listen to those who have experience of the sector
  • learn from others whilst developing your own thinking and knowledge

What’s an accomplishment that you are proudest of?

Assuming the question is work based – guiding Oldham Training Centre through major changes and the company achieving the Matrix Standard in January 2019. This helped lift staff morale and acknowledge the fantastic work they do.

What does gender balance in the workplace mean to you?

All employees have parity of esteem supported by clear opportunities for career / work progression in whatever shape or form suits their preferences and / or needs and based on merit only.

Do you have any advice or words of encouragement for aspiring female leaders? Or just for leaders in general if you prefer.

  • Be self-aware and continue to develop your emotional intelligence and radar
  • Believe in yourself but ensure you are open to feedback from trusted sources who can help you to challenge your thinking and ideas
  • Take care of yourself and your colleagues / employees

How to find Su online

Su Greaves, Acting CEO

Oldham Training Centre



Read our Women in Leadership Interview Series to meet the other interviewees.


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