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Project deliverables

  • Branding
  • Event showreel production
  • Production design & management
  • Social media
  • Virtual programme design

Leadership Pride – An impactful and thought-provoking virtual series

NHS South West Leadership Academy
The NHS South West Leadership Academy were set to hold their annual stakeholder event ‘Leadership Pride’ on the 19th March at Sandy Park, Exeter. Unfortunately, due to the coronavirus pandemic, this was postponed and set to take place later in the year of 2020. Once it became clear that a physical event would no longer be possible, they still wanted to find a way to create a space for leaders to come together, share their experiences, and to feel confident and proud of their own personal leadership journeys.

Our Approach

Although Leadership Pride couldn’t bring health care leaders across the South West together in one room, we understood there was a real opportunity to celebrate and showcase the incredible leadership and the rapid learning and improvement that had taken place over the previous eight months.
Following a discussion of the various ways in which a virtual event could be delivered, SWLA decided that the best option would be to go for a series of mini-events across 3 weeks, one per week, featuring keynote speakers addressing equality, diversity, resilience, compassion, and connection.

Visual Identity

In the early stages of the branding and with just the concept of Leadership Pride, we worked with the client to understand how they envisioned the event to look and feel. We sought to understand their ambitions for the event, how they wanted their delegates to feel and take away with them. It became clear that they wanted to focus on pride in leadership roles, reflecting and sharing stories of inclusion, diversity, compassion, and overcoming adversity and so they wanted their brand to reflect these themes.

Following this discovery session, our designers used the outputs to come up with engaging brand concepts that would help to establish Leadership Pride’s identity, that would become recognisable and signify the best of leadership in the South West.

Virtual Design & Delivery

Cynergy worked closely with the SWLA team to strategise and support the development of the virtual agenda and content design, whilst providing our input from a logistical standpoint. With the event now taking place on Microsoft Teams, there were additional things that needed to be considered and explored with the client as they had never delivered an event virtually before. It was therefore important that they felt as though they were in safe hands, and that there was someone there thinking ahead and creatively and provide advice and solutions – and that is the role Cynergy fulfilled. Fortnightly check-in calls were scheduled to discuss actions, track progress and raise any concerns that the team were having.

To ensure each of the Microsoft Teams events ran smoothly, Cynergy created Operational Schedules for each of the sessions which set out timings, actions, instructions and who should be on screen, facilitating and acting as tech support. These documents were shared with the rest of the SWLA team involved. As the event dates grew closer, Cynergy was readily available to go through test runs with the SWLA Project Teams and to run through the operational schedule so that they understood their role on the day. Alongside this, a WhatsApp group was set up exclusively for the operational team to keep everyone in the loop during the session, for example, if any changes to the schedule needed to be made in the moment.

On the day, Cynergy were the production managers; ensuring all participants were assigned the right roles (e.g. Presenters and Attendees), sharing slides and videos, spotlighting speakers, sending cues to presenters on Whatsapp to let them know when they will be on screen and ensuring all attendees queries were managed via the chatbox, ensuring that we delivered a seamless, digital experience for our attendees.

Totally inspirational and thought provoking!

Thank you so much!

Speaker Management

Cynergy were also responsible for speaker liaison and management in the lead up to the event which involved creating comprehensive speaker briefing packs that provided details about the speakers session (e.g. timings, themes, audience), how they would be presenting, and what they needed, support contacts and information, and guidelines for presenting virtually. Although many keynote speakers are experienced presenters, it was important to ensure they felt comfortable and confident speaking virtually and using the technology, in this case, Microsoft Teams, for their session.

Cynergy also set up technical checks with speakers in the run-up to the event to see if they had any issues joining Microsoft Teams and to test their connection, lighting, audio, and screen sharing, if needed. This preparation process was crucial to ensure speakers were seen and heard clearly and that their powerful messages were not lost amongst any technical problems – and so that delegates were able to get the best possible experience. During the sessions, again WhatsApp groups were created so that speakers had direct contact with a Cynergy team member who could support them – for example, if they were experiencing trouble sharing their screen, Cynergy were available to quickly call and talk through the process.

Really enjoyed today’s #SWLA_Pride event!

It was great hearing from @Nigelrefowens talking about his life and experiences. Looking forward to using these insights to keep inclusion at the heart of my work

Social Media Engagement

To drive recruitment and get their audiences engaged with the Leadership Pride agenda, Cynergy also managed and delivered a 3-month social media engagement campaign in the run-up to the virtual series. This involved planning varied and engaging content, scheduling on Hootsuite, and creating branded Leadership Pride images that promoted each of the individual sessions, keynotes and real-life leadership stories. On the event days, we were also tasked with forming Twitter chat questions to get delegates involved and engaged in conversations following the event.

Bookings were 3.1 x higher for the virtual event, showing a 210% increase in engagement.

What a wonderful morning and a wonderful series

Huge thanks to all at the SW Leadership Academy, to Sabrina, to Naheed and to ask the other speakers. It’s been a privilege to hear all your stories.

Event Showreel

To add to the post-event engagement, Cynergy also utilised the session recordings to create a finale event showreel, to bring together all of the Leadership Pride event highlights, inspirational messages, and positive delegate feedback. SWLA wanted the video to be an uplifting montage to empower their NHS leaders who had faced such a challenging year and remind them of everything they should be proud of.

With a physical event ready to be delivered back in March 2020, the SWLA team needed to completely reimagine Leadership Pride. Cynergy believed that there were still opportunities for the organisation to celebrate leadership in the South West, to showcase the courageous leadership and rapid learning and improvement that was taking place. So, we provided possibilities, tools, knowledge, and a strategic vision for the South West and worked collaboratively with them throughout the entire process.


Leadership Pride proved that impactful and thought-provoking experiences can be created virtually, leaving delegates feeling empowered and inspired to stand out and make a difference within their organisations and communities.

Want to be our next virtual engagement success story?

Give us a call on 01642 713211 – we’d love to chat!