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OD Conference speaker – Shelly Hossain

During the 26th-27th of October, Shelly Hossain will be one of the keynote speakers at Roffey Park Institute’s OD Conference. Shelly has been awarded 5 national awards over the years for her EDI work, so it comes as no surprise that her announcement as lead speaker is incredibly exciting for all those who plan on attending. Equipped with the knowledge, learning and expertise of working within the OD space for over 30 years, Shelly looks forward to asking and exploring: how do we go deeper in the work of belonging and equity?

Shelly Hossain

Shelly’s Journey

Shelly began her career working in local communities and youth groups before securing a role as Urban Planner for thirteen years in public service within local government. As Shelly progressed in terms of senior leadership positions, she decided that she needed some leadership development.  Shelly enrolled on a postgraduate diploma at the then Polytechnic of East London. It is here that Shelly came across Ian Cunningham whose learning philosophy she resonated with. Ian then went on to become CEO of Roffey Park Institute and Shelly followed, doing her MBA at Roffey Park. Shelly, a valued Roffey Park associate for the last thirty-three years has also previously been in the MBA, the MSc in People and OD and the OD Practitioner Certificate programme faculty.

Shelly really begun her journey in OD whilst a Town Planner where she was responsible for looking after whole systems for the local government, be it whole communities, environments, economic and geographical regions and so on. Shelly told us, “Although I do get on with the finer details, I have always been better at looking at the bigger picture.” This led to more development and training work. However, before long Shelly decided that her desire was not to be a trainer but to be in the space of development. She decided that organisational development was a better fit for her than localised training interventions. Shifting into the OD space Shelly became the head of OD and Equalities for the local government department she was working for at the time.

After some time there, Shelly decided to go independent and set up her own consultancy firm called Global Learning. She told us, “I really loved the space of doing OD work, but I also loved the space of being an OD educator. When I left the local government, two-thirds of my work was practice and one-third education but ten years ago I flipped that. So, when you ask me what I’m passionate about, the answer is high quality OD education and supporting the next generations of OD practitioners and  doing that in a practical way.”

Now, Shelly works on many OD programmes across the country, OD qualifications and substantive OD programmes for other consultancies. Impressively, Shelly is also the Co-Dean of the NTL OD Certificate Programme – NTL is considered by some to be the founding body of organisation development. “It is important, through education, to support the next generation and my peers of OD folk to develop our practice, wherever we are in our journey.” Shelly is a founding member of ODN Europe and has served as Co-Chair. She has also been a Board member for NTL Institute.

Shelly and OD

In terms of Shelly’s passion area in OD, work in equity and inclusion comes to the fore. Shelly wrote her undergrad and postgrad dissertations about the impact of race on the urban environment and a lot of her inspiration comes from her own social identity, being a professional woman of colour in significant leadership positions. Shelly explained, “I am interested in equity work, not just because it interests me but because it benefits society and the communities that we work in.”

Shelly hopes to provoke thinking at the upcoming Roffey Park Institute OD conference, exploring what social identities mean to us as individuals and how they impact our interactions. What social identities come to the surface when we are at work or when we are parents, brothers and sisters, sons and daughters or friends? It is about being curious about our use of self and how that can be consciously used to do good in the world. Shelly expanded, “OD has been around for a long time and our heart seems to be in the right space, but the world is not a better place. Why is that and how can we look to change that?”

We asked Shelly what questions the attendees should be asking themselves in preparation for her workshop. She encourages attendees to absolutely come open-minded but also considers three thought-provoking questions that are to be explored deeper: How am I contributing to creating a positive shift for minoritized communities of people? Do I take care enough to take action? How am I showing up for our global challenges?

Join Shelly at our upcoming OD conference and discover how we, in whatever space we occupy, can focus on the global challenges.

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