The Philanthropic Leadership Platform: Russia-Europe explores crisis leadership and emerging practices through COVID-19
The second edition of the Philanthropic Leadership Platform: Russia-Europe, undertaken in partnership with the Vladimir Potanin Foundation, saw 20 participants from across Russia and Europe come together to co-create, learn, adapt and scale lasting solutions to societal challenges. A webinar session on 18 March provided the perfect opportunity for the group to discuss the effects of COVID-19 on philanthropy, explore crisis leadership through the pandemic and look at the emerging practices in the sector.
Delphine Moralis, Chief Executive, European Foundation Centre, sought to shed a light on emerging practices within Europe, especially on the critical importance of collaborations in the response to COVID-19, during the opening of the webinar. While the pandemic has created a truly challenging environment for all and disproportionately impacted some of society’s most vulnerable, Delphine noted that it has presented us with an opportunity to improve society and work towards a better future for all.
Oksana Oracheva, General Director, Vladimir Potanin Foundation, echoed many of these sentiments, highlighting the important role of collaborations in Russia, sharing emerging practices within the country, and pointing out the unique differences found within the local context. On the topic of collaborations, a key difference in Russia has been a rise of informal coalitions, not often seen in the rest of Europe, as a means for organisations to find ways to efficiently work together and mitigate the impact of the crisis. However, much like the rest of Europe, there have been some similar trends, with volunteering seeing a massive boost as the public seeks to find ways to help society deal with the crisis and also within the sector, as important questions are asked on the dynamics of donor-grantee relationships.
Oksana reiterated the need to take advantage of these emerging trends, and the opportunities they present, and pointed out that many of the leadership skills needed to meet the challenges of the pandemic; agility, trust, openness to change, are the very same skills needed to help shape a better future for society.
The presentations by Delphine and Oksana were followed by an open discussion between the 20 participants of the programme on the leadership lessons they had learned from the pandemic. The aim of the discussions was to collect these lessons, evaluate them and as a group determine the key ones needed for effective leadership. These were distilled down into 4 key takeaways; the need for flexibility, the ability to see opportunity in a crisis, the importance of being able to see what the new normal is and the necessity to look after your staff.
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