Not long after starting the 10-month Patchwork Masterclass Programme in February this year, my cohort of Patchworkers and I were informed that at the beginning of March we would have the opportunity to attend our first Masterclass session, with Darren Mott OBE, CEO of the Conservative Party. I was immediately eager to attend. As a current final year student of English I have not had an ample number of opportunities to engage with political figures, so the chance to meet with and learn from a political leader such as Mr Mott was welcomed enthusiastically.
Mr Mott has a wealth of experience within politics which can be easily deduced by looking at information about his previous job roles online. What cannot be found online, however, is his personal story and the motivation behind those experiences which were shared in detail at the Masterclass. The exclusiveness of this opportunity in a small group of people made the entire session all the more valuable, and I am thankful for the efforts put into making this possible. The three main points of interest and advice that I took away from the Masterclass session with Mr Mott were on resilience, campaigning, and leadership.
On resilience: something that struck me almost immediately when Mr Mott began to share his political journey with us were the obstacles he had to overcome in order to get the position he is currently in. Mr Mott shared the relatable experience of being confused about his career direction whilst at school, the unfamiliarity of going to a first job interview, and lack of understanding about political terminology and processes at a young age. As somebody from a working-class background often suffering from imposter syndrome in certain situations, Mr Mott’s story resonated with me and I left the session feeling more confident and competent in my own abilities.
On campaigning: the question I posed to Mr Mott at the session was on this topic, as a key part of Mr Mott’s role in the Conservative Party over the years has been to drive forward the political agenda and increase the number of Conservative votes in general elections for three different Prime Ministers. Mr Mott responded to questions about campaigning by reminding us of its extreme importance, noting that political manifestos only become tangibly important if the party is actually in government. Mr Mott also reflected on refreshing and renewing campaigning tools to reflect the way members of society most effectively digest information at the time of a campaign.
On leadership: whenever I think about somebody in a leadership position, I automatically wonder in awe at how they manage to balance all of their responsibilities, remain motivated under extreme pressures, and make important decisions. Especially when thinking about the political sphere and the public sector more generally, all of these are also intertwined with multiple stakeholders from the Prime Minister through to UK citizens. Mr Mott had to say on leadership that what gets him out of bed in the morning to lead and delivery is the thought that his work can make a difference whether that be to one person or an entire community.
Overall, the Masterclass session with Mr Mott was very insightful and I left having learnt something new about the political sphere, and most importantly took away some great nuggets of wisdom that will stay with me in the future. I am looking forward to the next Masterclass sessions that Patchwork have lined up for us.
Written by Tiegan Bingham-Roberts, Patchwork Masterclass Participant 2021