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Conductor coaches South West businesses on how to lead without words

By November 21, 2017January 26th, 2021Member News & Updates, STEMM, Why Exeter blog

The Principal Conductor of the English Symphony Orchestra, Kenneth Woods, has been teaching South West business people how to lead without words, in the latest STEMM Cell event at Exeter Science Park.

Kenneth Woods, who is also the orchestra’s artistic director, illuminated the mysterious and often misunderstood art of the orchestral conductor, and how the same skills lend themselves to other forms of leadership and communication.

As well as explaining how the leadership strategies of the conductor transfer to other walks of life, Mr Woods, who has derived worldwide acclaim for his work as a conductor, rock guitarist, cellist, author and classical music blogger, talked about the various aspects of his role.

In a fun, fast paced session full of music and humour, the musician addressed various questions including the importance of nonverbal aspects of conducting.

He said: “As conductors, we lead through presence as opposed to words and actions. Who we are is a lot of how we work and how we succeed.”

The STEMM Cell @ Exeter Science Park – Inspiring Growth, launched in September with the autumn/winter programme including a diverse mix of speakers from science, technology, engineering, maths, medicine (STEMM) industries.

Previous speakers have included Dr Steven Hepplestone, Physics and Astronomy lecturer at the University of Exeter, discussing ‘solving the world energy crisis’; Devon marine biologist Imogen Napper whose research influenced a government ban on microbeads in cosmetics to reduce sea pollution. Forthcoming presentations include Timothy Nyahasha, Head of Administration for Lidl Exeter, on Wednesday, December 6, entitled “the evolution of retail and the fourth biggest supermarket in the world’s secret to success”.

Dr Sally Basker, CEO of Exeter Science Park, said: “The South West is home to a host of leading innovators, researchers, entrepreneurs and businesspeople, so we have created this platform to share the exciting knowledge and innovative projects that take place across Devon and beyond.

“All our speakers have been identified for their expertise, knowledge and skills that can benefit others.

“It was a pleasure to host Kenneth, whose profession may at first not seem like the obvious choice to inspire leaders in the business community!

“His enthusiasm for music is infectious and our audience really enjoyed learning about how the qualities involved in leading a top orchestra pertain to other walks of life.”

Tickets are priced at £10 per event, with a charity donation going to the Devon Community Foundation at the end of the year. For more information and to book your tickets, visit