Podcast | Leading for Resilience

About the Podcast

Resilience First and Resilience Rising are pleased to bring you a new podcast series – Leading for Resilience: Uncovering what works. Hosted by Shazre Quamber-Hill and Peter Willis, the Leading for Resilience podcast invites change makers from around the world to reflect on what kind of leadership they think builds essential resilience in this time of permacrisis.

In our quest to foster conscious and impactful decision-making, these conversations delve into the qualities that individual leaders can develop and employ when confronted with a crisis. We aim to shed light on how leaders can approach their roles in a way that not only enables them to navigate the challenges at hand but also empowers those they influence to cultivate resilience in the face of an ever-growing onslaught of crises.


Leading up to COP26 in 2021, Resilience Rising’s predecessor, The Resilience Shift, in partnership with Resilience First, conducted an extensive series of in-depth one-on-one conversations with a select group of climate leaders in the United Kingdom and Africa. The objective was to gather unique insights on leadership and resilience. The key takeaway? Unprecedented crises demand innovative approaches to learning and leading.

Fast forward two years, and the post-pandemic world has become even more intricate, with volatility and disruption intensifying the challenges of the ongoing climate crisis. In the face of mounting uncertainties, leaders across sectors and industries find themselves grappling with building genuine resilience.

In this new landscape, we engage with a diverse range of leaders, including some who participated in the original study, and others who are newly added to the cohort. These conversations both reflect upon and contribute to the insights gained from the original research.

All interviews were conducted between April and June 2023.

About the Hosts

Shazre Quamber-Hill is the Director for Network Strategy and Impact at Resilience First, the business-focused arm of Resilience Rising, a global consortium working to accelerate a safe, resilient and sustainable future for all. An experienced and strategic leader, Shazre is passionate about connecting people and ideas to drive innovative solutions and spur collective action at the intersection of climate change, adaptation and corporate citizenship.

Shazre holds a post-graduate degree in international development from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) and lives in London with her husband and daughter.

Peter Willis is a Senior Associate at Resilience Rising and was for 12 years the Africa Director of the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership. He specialises in facilitating leadership dialogues about developing resilience in the face of our age’s existential crises, and has interviewed leaders from around the world about their response to major droughts, wildfires, the Covid pandemic and the climate crisis. He was educated at Oxford University and has lived in Cape Town since 1993.


Episode 7: Seth Schultz on Learning, Unlearning and Relearning

Shazre and Peter wrap up the series by asking Seth Schultz to reflect on some of the insights gathered from previous conversations. They ponder the challenges that climate change is posing to all leaders, and the imperative to collaborate across sectors.

Seth is CEO of Resilience Rising. A globally recognized innovator and thought leader, he has a long track record of building consensus and initiating change in the field of sustainable development, urban climate action and resilient infrastructure.  He is a passionate advocate for solutions that advance a safe, resilient and sustainable future, the need for transformative decarbonisation and long-term resilience.

Over the past two decades, Seth has worked with many of the most leading and innovative organisations in this space to turn theory into practice, including the Louis Berger Group, the US Green Building Council, the Clinton Foundation, C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, the Global Covenant of Mayors, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the Resilience Shift.

Episode 6: Verena Radulovic on Acting fast, thinking slow

Shazre and Peter talk with Verena Radulovic, who identifies some fundamental shifts in the way corporations should be, and are, integrating climate risk into their planning and strategies.

Verena Radulovic spent 16 years as an environmental regulator with the US Environmental Protection Agency, pioneering the engagement with business around climate change. For the past three years she has been Vice President, Business Engagement at the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) in Washington DC. Verena is also a passionate and accomplished photographer, who has often used her photography to tell inspiring stories of the environmental changes that are possible when affected people are placed at the centre.

Episode 5: Dame Jo da Silva on embracing complexity

Shazre and Peter speak to Dame Jo da Silva about pragmatic optimism and the need to focus on solutions, not problems.

Jo da Silva is the Global Director of Sustainable Development at Arup, leading the firm’s activities to address the climate, biodiversity and equity crises through creating safe, inclusive and resilient communities whilst safeguarding the planet. Jo earned global recognition as an engineer who has applied knowledge and design expertise to improve safety, promote inclusivity, and enhance resilience of communities, cities and infrastructure globally. She has also worked extensively in crisis and disaster contexts for NGOs, UN agencies and multi-laterals. In 2007 she founded Arup International Development to enable Arup to direct technical excellence and creativity to improving human development outcomes in the global south. She was made a Dame Commander of the British Empire in 2021 in recognition of her contribution to international development.

Episode 4: Dr. Debra Roberts on ticking clocks and connecting the dots

This week Dr Debra Roberts issues a passionate call for knowledge brokers to help bring climate scientists closer to decision-makers in business and government.

Professor Debra Roberts has spent the last three decades working at the science-policy-practice interface in the fields of biodiversity planning and management, climate change adaptation and mitigation and sustainable development and resilience at local and international levels. Her pioneering work has helped reduce vulnerability in human and natural communities, enhanced local level sustainability and resilience, created socio-economic development opportunities and driven institutional change. Professor Roberts currently heads the Sustainable and Resilient City Initiatives function in eThekwini Municipality (Durban, South Africa). In 2015, Prof. Roberts was a lead author of Chapter 8 (Urban Areas) of Working Group II’s contribution to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). She was elected as IPCC Co-Chair of Working Group II (Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability) for the sixth assessment cycle (2015-2023). She is an Honorary Professor at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in the School of Life Sciences and has been an advisor to the Global Commission on Adaptation, United Cities and Local Governments and the United Nations Secretary General’s 2019 Climate Summit. In 2019 she was included in a list of the World’s 100 Most Influential People in Climate Policy. She currently holds the Professor Willem Schermerhorn Chair in Open Science from a Majority World Perspective at the Faculty of Geo-Information Science at the University of Twente.

Episode 3: Rachel Skinner CBE, FREng, on sitting with uncertainty

In this week’s episode, Shazre and Peter are joined by Rachel Skinner, CBE to discuss the role of systems thinking for overcoming imperfect information.

Rachel Skinner is the Executive Director for Responsible Business and Government Relations at engineering consultancy WSP UK. In 2020, Rachel became the youngest President in the Institution of Civil Engineering’s 200-year history – and the second woman ever to hold the role. Rachel has authored, scripted, and hosted publications and films on topics including “Shaping Zero”, and “Making Better Places” on place-making and future mobility. In recognition of her services to infrastructure, Rachel was awarded a CBE in the 2022 New Year’s Honours List. In 2016, she was named by The Telegraph as one of the UK’s Top 50 Influential Women in Engineering.

Episode 2: Richard Nugee CB CVO CBE on breaking rules and following orders.

This week, the podcast welcomes Lieutenant General (Retd) Richard Nugee CB CVO CBE, to explore what the private sector can learn from the armed forces about resilient leadership and empowerment.

General Richard Nugee was commissioned into the British Army in 1986 and has completed operational tours of Northern Ireland, Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq, Cyprus and Afghanistan. As his final role in the Army, he wrote a Review of Defence’s approach to Climate Change and Sustainability. He has since earned international recognition for bringing the implications of Climate Change and Sustainability to the Defence and National Security sectors.  He is now the Non-Executive Director for Climate Change and Net Zero for the Ministry of Defence and is Patron, Chair or Trustee of a number of organisations, including advisory roles with a number of renewable energy and environmental sustainability start-ups.

Episode 1: Martyn Link and the importance of story telling

Shazre and Peter talk to Martyn Link, Executive Director at Resilience First and former chief strategist at Wood Plc., about the importance of putting the human at the heart of decision making.

Martyn Link specializes in leading organizations through uncertainty, disruption and change to deliver growth, innovation, and transformation. He is passionate about enabling businesses to be a force for good to help solve society’s biggest challenges. Prior to joining Resilience First, Martyn spent 11 years at the global engineering giant Wood Plc, where he was responsible for corporate strategy, organisational design and leading the pivot towards the energy transition. Martyn lives in the Scottish Highlands.

Stay tuned for the next episode from Jo da Silva DBE about pragmatic optimism and the
need to focus on solutions, not problems.