Leaving a Legacy: Why Giving Back Defines Sustainable Leadership

June 26, 2024By C8 ConsultingInsights

Written by Katherine Woods, Head of Corporate Partnerships, Action for Children and pannelist at C8 20th Anniversary event.


Becoming a successful and respected leader is a multifaceted effort which requires a diverse mix of skills that evolve over time. For most, building sustainable positive leadership centres on the impact you have on others.

Celebrating success

I was recently invited to join C8 Consulting’s twentieth anniversary celebrations held at the Soho Hotel in central London. There, the company’s Founder and MD Paula Elliott reflected on her approach to nurturing and investing in her team, and the deep satisfaction she has gained from seeing so many of them go on to become leaders in their own right. In fact, the room was packed with former C8 colleagues, including Paula’s very first employee Cathy O’Neill, who is now Director at Spark Communications. There was a strong sense that former team members recognised the impact that Paula and her leadership style has had on their own skillset, development, and ambition to build a career in PR and communications. As Paula put it, “It is about knowing your ‘why’, finding your passion, investing in others, and being curious – willing to always be learning.”

Developing a strong company culture like this is core to good leadership, and it’s clear that giving back is part of C8’s DNA, whether that is through investment in its people, or working to support organisations that help the most vulnerable in society.

Giving back is in C8’s DNA

Action for Children is very close to C8’s heart, and as Head of Corporate Partnerships at the charity I was absolutely delighted to join their celebrations, and to have the opportunity to explain a little more about what we do and why we do it.

Since its foundation in 1869, Action for Children has been dedicated to providing practical and emotional support to vulnerable children dealing with complex challenges in communities UK-wide.

Just think of a child you know, and what you want for them. Do you want them to be safe and happy? That’s why Action for Children exists. Our vision is that every child in the UK has a safe and happy childhood and the foundations they need to thrive. Something we strive for every day.

But tragically, there are too many children growing up in very difficult circumstances. 4.3million children in the UK today are living in poverty. It’s absolutely heartbreaking. Childhood is so short, and we only have one chance to get it right, and what happens in childhood impacts lives forever.

How can you concentrate at school if you’re hungry? How do run around and make friends if your shoes are too small or have holes in them?

Our ability to change children’s lives relies on fundraising, and corporate partnerships are an incredibly important part of this.  We aim to engage businesses in creative ways that will contribute to company culture, engage customers and build strong teams, while also raising money for Action for Children.

Over the years, many C8 employees have taken part in Action for Children’s corporate sleepout, the legendary Boycott your Bed (previously Byte Night). It’s quite simple – just one night without your bed to help the children who face every night without a safe place to sleep.

It is always an uplifting experience, as Paula recalled: “When you wake up, or rather when you get out of your sleeping bag after a sleepless night, there is always a huge sense of camaraderie. And knowing you’re making a difference makes all the difference.”

In the current environment, fundraising is not easy. It takes creativity and innovation to engage people and organisations, motivating them to want to make that difference. When it’s successful, there’s a positive impact on the charity, on the company and on vulnerable children.

Paula Elliott, MD, C8 Consulting comments:Creating a positive, supportive culture is one of the most impactful things you can do as a leader. It sends ripples through the day to day lives of every stakeholder, from employees to clients, to suppliers and partners. I think it’s the legacy that remains in people’s minds over the long term and what ultimately defines the kind of leader you are.”

If you’d like to hear more about how you can get involved with Action for Children, please visit: Partner with us | Action For Children

Speak with the communications specialists

With 20 successful years in business, the team at C8 Consulting is perfectly placed to help you address your PR and communications challenges. Whether you’re looking to grow internationally, beach head and rollout across new markets, or have secured series C, D or E funding to champion your next stage of growth, C8 Consulting is here to help you. Do get in touch: https://www.c8consulting.co.uk/contact-us/