Polaroids of Wakefield's cultural assets layered on top of each other. On the top of a pile is a polaroid with an illustration of Steven, our Chair by Abbey Withington. He is a white man with a shaved head wearing glasses and a blue polo top.

Introducing Our New Chair

R Hollis

Introducing Our New Chair

Posted in Editorial

Creative Wakefield is excited to announce the appointment of our new Board Chair!

Steven Michael has an impressive record working in the NHS and charitable sector and has lived in Wakefield for the past 22 years. Steven started his career as a registered mental health nurse working in the North East. His career progressed, occupying clinical leadership and managerial roles, culminating in being CEO of South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust. In 2014 he was awarded an OBE for services to healthcare.

In more recent years Steven has been an Independent Chair of health and care partnerships in Greater Manchester and East Cheshire, as well as chairing Spectrum People, a local charity and ImROC, an international mental health recovery organisation.

Steven is passionate about creativity and the arts in general. He is a fellow of the RSA and his doctoral research concerned sustaining creative innovation in complex human systems.

As Chair, Steven will help deliver our vision and take Creative Wakefield to the next level.

Meet Steven Michael OBE

Q. What motivated you to apply for the role of Creative Wakefield chair?

Steven: “Essentially, three things. Firstly, a genuine passion for the arts and the belief in the power of creativity to enhance the lives of individuals and their communities. Secondly, a desire to add value to my home district by sharing my knowledge, experience and skills. Thirdly, to be part of securing a sustainable legacy for the benefit of the current and future generations.”

Q. What excites you most about the Wakefield district?

Steven: “Fundamentally, the people. Wakefield has a rich and increasingly diverse cultural heritage which feels special and unique. Despite the challenges the district faces, people remain resilient, hopeful and creative. This creates a real sense of opportunity for this and future generations.”

Q. What does creativity mean to you?

Steven: “A colleague and friend once described creativity as ‘soul food’. Food for the soul. I’ve never heard of a more elegant definition. For me, the ability to replenish, renew, invigorate, inspire—as well as express frustration and sorrow, through all forms of creativity—is central to our individual and collective lived experience. Without creativity we are in effect, ‘soulless’.”

Q. What is the best advice you have ever received?

A. “Just over twenty years ago, someone I worked with in the NHS said: ‘There’s a good job going in Wakefield, I think it would suit you’. I took her advice and applied, got the job and never really looked back.

Q. What would your advice be to inspiring leaders?

A. “Don’t try to be a hero, but aim at being an effective host. Great leadership comes from fostering joint endeavour and co-production and in creating the necessary conditions in which individuals, organisations and communities can flourish.”

Click here to learn more about Steven Michael, our Board and their role.

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