On The Mind Of: Stephen Hale, Chief Executive at Refugee Action


Crisis has brought us together to work together but it is an incredible test of every organisation. Find out if you have the cohesion to pivot, adapt and survive.

Opportunity and privilege comes with moral responsibility.

Put a commitment to shift power to refugees and people seeking asylum at the centre of the strategy. Its a journey to go on rather than a state to be reached. We need to centre those people, voices and perspectives because its morally right, will make a better organisation, and is important for the cause.

Debate in the charity sector about lack of diversity, equality and inclusion and how privilege has excluded people from having the opportunities.

White men are in the way, and need to own that and recognise the structural racism that exists across the sector, and more space, confidence and power to people to say things that they want to say that they haven’t been given explicit permission to say.

Recogniding that silence can be complicit. Make way for other voices that have more lived experience. Not dominating platforms that are available for other voices, spending more time listening and learning, but also wanting to contribute.

If you rush to use your voice you risk skipping the listening and reflection but it might not be amplifying voices.

Shifting power to experts by experience. The shifting of power often requires people in senior positions to give away power in order for others to take it forward.

The shifting of power should have three dimensions, 1) the make up of people on the board, 2) increasing the number of refugees employed within the organisation, 3) who makes decisions.

We have a profound moral obligation to think about our cause before we think about our organisation. That is what the people who support our organisation expect. If we are not connecting we are letting down the people who have enough confidence in the organisation.

The role of leaders to figure where their organisation fits in contributing to the cause.

Charities have an obligation to collaborate to achieve more together.

Challenge the idea that there is a conflict between the short term interests of the organisation and whether you are collaborative or not.

Influencing the state to make people’s lives better, but we should not over estimate what the state can do.

Big and complex network of charities around any given issue, their coherence and collective strategy and influence can have a huge impact on the system. What we can do within our sphere of influence?