Tilly Wright has been the practice manager at Villa Street Medical Practice in Walworth for four years, her first role in health. Previously she worked at a university of arts. Her career has focused on team building, leadership, managing staff, people and processes.
Tilly lives in Peckham and enjoys a busy, happy family life. She took part in all phases of the emerging leaders programme and is now a director for Quay Health Solutions (QHS), the North Southwark GP federation.
"I wasn't entirely sure what the programme was about. I saw the advert and thought it was all about personal development and doing a course for three months and thought this is a free opportunity – why would you not do it? If it helps me to be better at what I do, that's great and I'll meet other people.
It was a real level playing field
I became a partner here at Villa Street in the first year of the emerging leaders programme, in some way because I started getting involved with things externally. Then I became an associate director with QHS. I needed the authority to be able to represent QHS. It was good for QHS in terms of succession planning. I was getting lots out of the emerging leaders programme and putting a lot back into QHS. I was forming lots of networks through emerging leaders that QHS was benefiting from.
The best thing about the programme was working with the other emerging leaders. It was a real level playing field, quite often things can be quite hierarchical but we all had an equal view and opinion in the programme.
Some of us formed really strong networks. Having headspace outside of the practice was really helpful, and being challenged in different ways was really useful, it allowed me to do things on a bigger scale.
Now I understand how I achieve results
It was challenging finding the time to do the programme, and there was a lack of clarity at the beginning about what we were really doing. I felt that sometimes we were asked to do work that wasn't really of any real value at that time and that was frustrating.
I found out that I find being outside of my comfort zone really stressful but am always surprised when I manage to achieve and how things fall into place. I'm constantly surprised that I put myself forward for things, and often make a success of them. I found out I like to have a structure around me, but I make my decisions based on instinct, which previously caused a conflict within me but now I've become much more comfortable with it and have a much better understanding of how I achieve results.
Pushing how you think is really important
How has the programme changed me? I'm more confident, I'm more knowledgeable about the wider politics and influences, on a personal level my decision making process has changed. Part of the confidence I've gained is being able to be more objective about things, I don't take things as personally. Of course I still worry all the time about how I'm being perceived but I'm able to separate that a bit more.
I get more involved now. I make myself more available for training because I can see the opportunities that come out of it, not always learning outcomes but other things spin off from it.
I encourage people in the practice to do training. I used to see it as taking you away from doing your job, but now I'm really open to it and see the benefit. I often think that training courses are different to development. Development is about growing as a person, pushing brain power, developing the way you think, pushing how you think all the time is really important. Being challenged to do that is really important."
Tilly Wright is Practice Manager at Villa Street Medical Practice and a director of Quay Health Solutions, the North Southwark GP federation