Changing attitude and mindset can help an individual to manage their team and take the lead in this VUCA environment.

The idea that we are all increasingly required to operate in VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous) times seems to be widely accepted. However, to thrive we need the safety of a reflective thinking space where individuals can review multiple perspectives and explore different options. Good coaching and mentoring provide a space for this reflection in which individuals or teams are encouraged to explore different angles that allow them to come to their own conclusions and develop their own solutions. Great coaching and mentoring go one step further and facilitates the power of transformative decision-making, as our coaches and mentors embolden resilience to change and encourage leadership and self-reliance rather than a reliance on a system of hierarchy.

Coaching and mentoring encourage innovative solutions to today’s problems. The relationship with a trusted, experienced coach and or mentor who both challenges and encourages can be a critical one that has been shown to be extremely effective in keeping people healthy and motivated in their work.

A diagram illustrating the VUCA Model.



Gareth Owen – Humanitarian Director – Save The Children UK

Humanitarian Director Save the Children UK – committed humanitarian who has lived and worked in some of the world’s most challenging situations, Gareth has led responses to numerous emergencies all over the globe including the Boxing Day Tsunami, Pakistan and Haiti earthquakes, Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar, East Africa and Niger food crises and the Somalia, Angola, Kosovo, Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria conflicts. Gareth co-founded Elrha, the HLA and the CBHA (now the Start Network) and is passionate about leadership development in the humanitarian sector. Today, he leads a team of 100+ humanitarian professionals and in June 2013 he was awarded the OBE for ‘services to Emergency Crisis Response Abroad’.



Cornelia C.Walther, PhD – Catalyst – POZE Net

As a humanitarian practitioner, Cornelia worked for nearly two decades with UNICEF and the World Food Program in large scale emergencies in West Africa, Afghanistan and Haiti, mostly operating as head of strategic communication. As coach and researcher, she collaborates with the Center for humanitarian leadership at Deakin University and Aix-Marseille’s Law faculty. Cornelia holds a doctorate in Law and is a certified yoga and meditation teacher.

Aside from her interest in the multiple shapes of influence, Cornelia’s focus is on social transformation from the inside out, looking at individual aspirations as the point of departure. Her objective is to refine a methodology that influences people towards wanting to get involved in social change processes, rather than obliging them to act for the sake of others. In 2017 she initiated the POZE (Purpose – Optimization – Zenith – Exposure) dynamic in Haiti, offering individuals tools to identify and pursue their aspirations. The network is now expanding into the Americas, Africa, Asia and Europe. In 2020 three of her books are published by Palgrave/Springer, ‘Development, humanitarian action and social welfare’ (May), ‘Humanitarian work, social change and human behavior’ (June) and ‘Connection in times of Covid’ (November).

Cornelia’s has several published books and a new book due out in October 2021, Leadership for Social Change and Development. BeingChange.



Saba Almubaslat – CEO – Asfari Foundation

With over 25 years of experience, Saba is a leading voice in the Humanitarian Response & Development sectors.  Directing national and regional programmes for nearly 14 years with Save The Children, establishing and leading the Humanitarian Leadership Academy; a global learning initiative and now leading the Asfari Foundation; a global family/donor foundation, she has grown to become a dynamic and influential CEO with strategic focus and operational expertise. Working in some of the world’s most challenging countries and situations, her background includes front-line response in Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, West Bank, Yemen, Tunisia, Libya and Azerbaijan. Now in the UK, she is working with one ethos, which has remained at the core of her career throughout; she strives to give local and national partners the opportunity to build resilience and lead development in their own context with proficiency. To achieve such goal she continues to work closely with policy makers and donors to ensure investing in sustainable change at the local level and ensuring meaningful partnership architecture that connects the local to the global and allow for exchange of learning and expertise to the benefit of all.



Thomas Lay, ESA Emergency Director
Save the Children International

Thomas started his career 15 years ago responding to displacement in Somalia. For the next six years he led a transient lifestyle leading first phase responses to natural disasters and conflict situations in over 20 countries around the world. Since 2012, Thomas has been based in East Africa focusing on the conflict in South Sudan and acute food insecurity in the Horn of Africa. He now coordinates Save the Children’s humanitarian effort across 14 countries in East and Southern Africa. In 2021 he launched the first Regional Humanitarian Unit within Save the Children which is designed to help forge the next era of humanitarian action and the industry navigates some systemic demands for change.

He is a passionate believer in bring out the most in his team through opportunities that take people out of their comfort zones in a controlled and supported manner.

Recent research shows that the most significant common factor differentiating high performing leadership teams from less effective teams is the attention and time they devote to coaching and being coached…

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