Embracing generosity: My leadership journey through the lens of giving

25 April 2024
Valentina Hynes Leadership Blog
As a speaker at our Ordinary Extraordinary Leaders Conference in May, Valentina Hynes – Founder and CEO of SVH Inc. CIC – provides her take on how generosity can be a bridge to understanding, connection, and mutual respect.

Generosity, to me, isn’t just a word tossed around in motivational speeches; it’s the essence of my journey, a consistent thread weaving through the fabric of my personal and professional life. It’s a testament to the belief that true growth and sustainable impact are nurtured through giving, support, and community empowerment. This narrative delves into how generosity shaped my path from a Nigerian African immigrant to a recognised leader in the UK, spotlighting my ventures like YOLO Dance and SVH Inc. CIC, against the backdrop of my vibrant Nigerian roots and the challenges and victories that have coloured my journey.

Living your values

The convergence of personal beliefs and professional drive is where my story unfolds, guided by a commitment to generosity. This principle didn’t just align with my actions at YOLO Dance or V14 Ventures; it was a lived experience, resonating through every facet of my life. Whether navigating the complexities of relocating to a Yorkshire town that’s starkly different in hue and heart to my Nigerian homeland, or fighting to secure my place within its community fabric, my ethos remained unwavering. Generosity wasn’t an act; it was a lifestyle, informing my leadership and infusing my ventures with a sense of purpose and belonging.

Building from challenges

My transition to the UK was a mosaic of trials, yet it underscored the potency of generosity. Facing barriers, from bureaucratic entanglements with the Home Office to embedding myself within a predominantly white, conservative community, I leaned into generosity. It became my bridge to understanding, connection, and mutual respect. This period illustrated that generosity transcends mere giving – it’s about building bridges, fostering understanding, and creating spaces where everyone feels valued and heard.

Generosity as a growth strategy

In the realm of leadership, generosity emerged as more than a virtue – it became a strategic pillar. It was through giving – be it time, expertise, or resources – that I expanded my network and influence. This facet of my journey highlights generosity as a catalyst for professional growth and organisational development. It’s about sharing not just for the sake of giving but as a means to empower, uplift, and inspire collective action towards common goals.

Fostering a nurturing environment

The essence of my leadership lies in creating spaces that nurture and empower. Through initiatives under SVH Inc. CIC, I championed environments where individuals could thrive, underscored by the belief that a nurtured community is the bedrock of sustainable growth. This approach not only bolstered the well-being of my team and community but also fostered a culture where innovation, resilience, and collaboration flourished.

Inspiring through action

The accolades and recognitions I’ve garnered – ranging from Business Woman of the Year to being listed among the WISE100 top female social entrepreneurs – reflect a journey marked by action, resilience, and most importantly generosity. These acknowledgements serve not just as personal milestones but as beacons that illuminate the impact of leading with a generous heart. They are a testament to the transformative power of integrating generosity into every leadership endeavour, catalysing change and inspiring others to do the same.

As I gear up to share my insights at the Community First Yorkshire Ordinary Extraordinary Leaders Conference, it’s clear that generosity has been my compass – guiding me through challenges, shaping my leadership, and driving my organisations toward impactful, community-centric goals. My narrative, rooted in the vibrant tapestry of my Nigerian heritage and my journey in the UK, underscores the profound belief that generosity is the cornerstone of true leadership and organisational success. Through generosity, we not only achieve our goals but also enrich the lives of those around us, weaving a legacy of impact and empathy that transcends boundaries and lasts generations.

If you’d like to hear more from Valentina, be sure to book your place at the Ordinary Extraordinary Leaders conference today. Bookings close at midday on 15 May – just over three weeks away.