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Where Are You Now?

William Anthony Donkin

William Anthony Donkin

PhD Outdoor Leadership 2005

Dr Donkin experience lies within Outdoor Leadership and Management having served with the Guards, Marines and UK Special Forces.

“My experience as a leader of adventurous outdoor activities and expeditions was developed through opportunities provided by Her Majesties Forces,” Dr Donkin explained. “Passing the Special Forces selection has been one of my biggest challenges.

“The activities were usually fast paced and utilised hands-on learning.

“I was provided with essential experience and immediate opportunities to apply new concepts. In practice, this means that I learned advanced navigation in treacherous conditions at night or refined paddling form while contending with shifting currents.

“I feel I gained a new understanding of compassion while encouraging climbing companions who were searching for the next handholds.”

The 55-yer-old completed his PhD research programme at the University which consisted of a comprehensive Management Leadership study, which aimed to identify the key competencies of expedition leaders.

“Completing my PhD has been my greatest achievement to date. I enjoyed my research tremendously and hopefully the study will be of use to managers of all types,” he said.

Dr Donkin also possesses a sound knowledge of Management Studies including Leadership, Health and Safety, Maintenance, Law, Finance and Budgetary control, Strategic planning, Programming, promotion of businesses and the requirements of special needs groups.

Dr Donkin has presented lectures widely in various leadership and management-related subjects at a variety of institutions including Durham University Business School and the University of Sunderland. He has also organised lectures and workshops on Organisational Behaviour topics and has implemented many practical programmes.

He said: “My recent involvement in outdoor activities is quite substantial. I have organised and carried out expeditions with various groups around the country. 

“My work with local youth and Durham University Exploration Society has been particularly rewarding. Over the years I have developed a distinct philosophy on outdoor education and believe that good leadership is not convincing people to do it my way but to ensure that everyone's ideas are heard.” 

Asked about his abiding memories of Sunderland and his time living in the City Dr Donkin commented: “I loved to watch my favourite football team Sunderland AFC.” 

The Sunderland graduate also gave his advice to current students on how to get a foot on the career ladder: “Start off as a volunteer doing something you like and develop things from there.” 

His future plans include carrying on writing and researching and working in the voluntary sector.

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