So engaged

31 August 2022

A farewell article from GGI’s outgoing director of engagement and corporate affairs Stephen McCulloch

Before applying for the role of director of communications at GGI, I had already heard positive things about the company. Friends and colleagues on the NHS grapevine told me that GGI’s ethics were second-to-none and its working style was friendly and ferociously loyal. Having been here for a couple of years I’m pleased to confirm that GGI lived up to its reputation.

Following over a decade in NHS and regulatory communications I was ready for a new challenge in early 2020 and GGI piqued my interest as a leading institute, nationally renowned for its thought leadership and diverse range of clients. I applied, hoping I’d be able to continue making a difference in the work I delivered while being at the forefront of modern approaches to leadership and engagement.

I was welcomed warmly into the GGI team, despite arriving in the (first) eye of the Covid storm. Immediately I could see opportunities for adding value to GGI communications. There were already several excellent communications and engagement experts delivering a superb range of free events and written material, but the home for these, the GGI website, needed love and attention to really show off GGI as the world-leading consultancy it is.

As well as working with the team to create a new website, we worked together to develop a golden thread across the organisation, bringing together our governance products under one umbrella while defining which elements work together to offer clients the best experience and outcomes when engaging with us.

Core to good governance and leadership is internal communication. I worked with colleagues to find innovative new ways to engage with colleagues based across the UK (and beyond) and keep us all connected. Having not worked for a completely digital company before this was a challenge I especially relished. Thanks to this work, I think I leave GGI in a good place culturally, and while there is always more to do to be an excellent employer, I think this culture thrives in supporting people with similar ethical values.

Of course, one of the greatest opportunities in the world of engagement and communications at a governance consultancy is what we can offer our clients. Good engagement with colleagues, patients, residents, stakeholders and beyond is at the core of good governance. It is, however, also the principle that people often forget or underestimate the importance of until it’s too late.

GGI’s offer of engagement embedded in governance programmes is key to their success. Many of my most enjoyable moments at GGI have been working with colleagues and clients to find innovative solutions to engaging internally and externally. We have flown drones above sports clubs, drawn senior leaders, promoted excellence with Lords and Ladies and, most importantly, asked and answered the right questions in campaigns.

My time at GGI is now drawing to an end and I’m thrilled to be taking up a new role as the executive director of marketing and communications at With You, a drug and alcohol rehabilitation charity.

I know I’ll always look back fondly at GGI, as a place where I learned how to embed creativity into governance and had the opportunity to speak to the broadest selection of senior public sector leaders imaginable.

Oh, and personally my partner and I decided to get married. So I’m leaving GGI engaged in every sense of the word.

Prepared by GGI Development and Research LLP for the Good Governance Institute.

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