13 Jul 2017


Local leader shortlisted for national leadership awards

Keith Towler, Chair, Council for Wales of Voluntary Youth Services (CWVYS) from Llandeilo has been named a finalist in this year’s Leading Wales Awards.
The 2017 Leading Wales Awards (Wales’ long-established and only dedicated leadership awards) in association with The Institute of Leadership and Management have announced this year’s short list.
The award winning alumni include Laura Tenison MBE, Jo Jo Maman Bébé, Mario Kreft MBE, CEO of Pendine Park Care Homes, Kelly Davies, Managing Director of Vi-Ability, and Dr Sabine Maguire of Sparkle, South Gwent Children’s Foundation.

Keith Towler has been nominated in the Leadership in the Voluntary & Not For Profit Sector category for his leadership role as Chair of CWVYS, the representative body of Voluntary Youth Services in Wales, and is one of 3 finalists in the category.

Barbara Chidgey, Chair of the Leading Wales Awards, said; “The shortlist reflects a very high standard and diverse range of leaders working in all sectors across Wales; our panels of judges will have a tough job on judging day on July 14th. On behalf of the Leading Wales Awards Consortium I would like to thank everyone who made the effort to nominate and share such fantastic examples of “Leaders in Wales”. It’s set to be another very exciting year for Wales’ only leadership awards.”

The winners will be announced at the lunchtime awards ceremony, which will take place at the Hilton Cardiff on Thursday 21st September. Tickets are available at a cost of £59.50. Please reserve your place now by emailing leadingwalesawards@learningpathways.info


More information in Keith’s own words:

How has your life experience made you the leader you are today?
My life has been characterised by working with children and young people for over 30 years. This has shaped my leadership approach. I try to never take anything for granted or to underestimate the contribution that children and young people can make to their own lives, to the lives of others or to the communities in which they live, learn and have fun.

Listening and acting on what is said, making decisions based on an informed approach, communicating clearly and respecting everyone’s contribution. Sounds easy. It isn’t, but I guess my life experience has taught me that creating positive change means that you are always learning and that making mistakes helps to shape long term success.

What have been the main highlights and challenges since taking up your leadership role with CWYVS?
Highlights: being able to work closely with and learn from committed, knowledgeable and passionate Trustees in order to shape and influence not just the future direction of CWVYS but also of youth work policy in Wales. Celebrating CWVYS’s 70th birthday; recognising how far the organisation has travelled whilst looking forward to the future. Agreeing a youth work vision for the future that values and respects the contribution that young people can make.

Challenges: working to ensure that future direction is underpinned by a strategic approach to sustaining and developing the work of CWVYS. Understanding the immense pressures that our Members are under when cuts to youth work provision are the norm. Ensuring that at a strategic and operational level our members are able to deliver their services so that young people are supported and given the opportunities they need to be the best that they can be.

What have been the most helpful things you have learnt from these highlights and challenges?

That when you line up key players to a single vision, where everyone can see and understand how their contribution can make a difference, it is possible to achieve your goals.
That powerful communication in the mainstream media and in social media can mobilise support when the vision is well articulated.

What do you think is the biggest issue facing leaders in Wales in 2017?

Austerity and its impact on delivering public services. In the voluntary sector, austerity has reduced time and capacity to support, deliver and evaluate key programmes. This creates a leadership challenge where arguments around best value have to be balanced with a determination to deliver safe, positive and enriching public services.

Which other leaders in Wales do you admire and why?
In Wales, we are fortunate to have young people led youth forums, school councils, junior safeguarding boards and youth councils. They all make a huge contribution to our communities and yet their profile nationally remains quite low. Young leaders offer hope for the future but they also demonstrate here and now how effective leadership can change people’s lives.

What is one word that sums up leadership for you?

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