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Gill Phillips and the origins of Whose Shoes?

Gill is Director of Nutshell Communications Ltd and creator of Whose Shoes?®

A First Class Honours graduate and Prince 2 trained, Gill Phillips is a perceptive thinker, skilled at highlighting barriers and inconsistencies in policy and practice and devising innovative ways to engage and inspire people. She is an international speaker, giving lively, challenging talks and workshops and is a champion of involving ‘experts by experience’ and using innovative co-production approaches.

Gill Phillips


Personalisation, people, passion. Pushing the boundaries. Everyone valued, everyone contributing. Having a life, rather than ‘a set of services’.

Gill Phillips is the inspirational developer of Whose Shoes?® which is the most powerful and transformational way to explore what personalisation really means”.

Whose Shoes?® like so many ideas that turn out to be successful, was born out of frustration. With 30 years experience in social care working in local government, Gill became passionate about the possibilities offered by the emerging personalisation agenda in health and social care and wider public sector transformation. Gill saw the challenges and barriers that lay ahead, integrating informal and formal resources, as appropriate; the need to understand the complexity of creating genuine personalised support which focuses on a person’s whole life.

She saw progress as a matter of “hearts and minds”, engaging people through genuine co-production rather than top-down implementation. No-one had all the answers – but working together and LISTENING would be essential to bring about lasting change.

Whose Shoes?® products followed and Gill is now recognised as a quirkly and influential change agent – honoured to be listed in both the HSJ Top 50 Inspirational women and HSJ Top 50 innovators.

For the full Whose Shoes?® story, see the guest blog Gill wrote as part of the “Think Local, Act Personal” series.

For Gill’s personal story and what drives her work, take a look at her guest blog for her close business associate, Sarah Reed, creator of the fabulous “Many Happy Returns” reminiscence resources.

Social Media

Gill Phillips is a highly acclaimed contributor to several social media platforms, notably Twitter, LinkedIn, Steller and through her popular blog, sometimes featuring stories from her 94 year old mother @Gills_Mum … who casts a very interesting eye on ageing and what matters in life.

Gill co-manages (with close business associate, Philippa Codd) the Linkedin group: “The personalisation group to integrate social care, health and housing” – over 3000 members from across housing, health and social care sectors. The group helps people collaborate and make a difference in health and social care… not “just another talking shop”. Apply to join!

Gill also writes the popular Whose Shoes?® blog and hosts many guest blogs, particularly around dementia care. The blog builds upon Nutshell’s powerful approach of promoting understanding and empathy by looking at issues from a wide range of perspectives. There are posts from people with dementia, family carers, clinicians, managers, providers, front-line staff, academics…and indeed Norman Lamb, former Minister of State for Care and Support.

  • Gill is a highly experienced consultant with a deep knowledge of adult social care issues and very strong networking skills. As the creator of the Whose Shoes?® tool, Gill is particularly effective at bridging the gap between professionals and communities.”

    Elke Loeffler
    CEO, Governance International

  • Gill has been an excellent external consultant who has delivered first class training in the field of personalisation. She has worked well with all of our teams, staff and client groups. I would recommend her consultancy work and will be organizing future events with her.”

    Ann Saxon
    Head of Workforce Development at University of Wolverhampton

  • Gill is a fantastic motivator, inspiring the Learning & Development Service at Leicestershire County Council with her magnificent thought/discussion-provoking transformation tool, Whose Shoes?®”

    Sarah Wigley
    Learning & Development Officer, Leicestershire County Council

  • The feedback for Gill’s training was overwhelmingly positive – even from individuals who were not initially certain about the concept / material. I whole-heartedly recommend Gill as a Value for Money champion re personalisation, service user involvement and positive ways forward for everyone involved in care provision.”

    Ray Massey
    Training & Development Coordinator, London Borough of Redbridge

  • I wish you every success in your venture, Gill. I believe in the importance of the work that you do. I know that it makes a big difference in my life and in the lives of people affected by dementia.”

    Larry Gardiner
    International speaker and dementia advocate, living with dementia

  • We invited Gill to demonstrate her fantastic Whose Shoes? tool to over 50 senior managers of social care provider organisations delivering across Glasgow. Her enthusiasm and passion for personalisation and self-directed support shone through. I would fully endorse Gill as an entrepreneurial change maker!”

    Charlie Barker-Gavigan
    Director of Social Care Ideas Factory, Glasgow

  • Gill’s previous career as a social care manager enables her to understand the challenges facing adult social care while, as a carer herself, she is very familiar with the feelings and needs of people who use services.”

    Elke Loeffler
    CEO, Governance International

  • Gill is a very creative, person-centred worker and skilled facilitator. Her creative scene setting is worth participating in if you get the chance.”

    Ken Stapleton
    Social Work Advisor at Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council

  • Not content with a brilliant board game and vibrant LinkedIn forum, Gill keeps looking for ways to develop what she does”

    Helen Ashton
    Partner, First Class Learning and Development

  • Gill is a great talent and is making a remarkable contribution to communicating this cultural change. Thank you Gill for your continuing support and constant enthusiasm.”

    Sarah Wigley
    Learning & Development Officer at Leicestershire County Council

  • Gill Phillips is very passionate about people and about personalisation in a totally compassionate way. Her Whose Shoes?® facilitation tool is empowering and insightful to all who engage with it.”

    Angie Carter
    Specialist Occupational Therapist in Assistive Technology and Personalisation

  • Gill is the creator of something truly wonderful, which has the opportunity to develop and get better and better!”

    Philippa Codd
    Managing Director at Mango Social Care Consultancy

  • Gill really brought the whole personalisation agenda to life for us and was the catalyst to our brain friendly induction sessions.”

    Sarah Wigley
    Learning & Development Officer, Leicestershire County Council

  • Gill’s kindness, empathy and natural affinity for enabling people is something that made me really want to work with her!”

    Gina Hardesty
    Service user led training from the heart of practice and education at Ivycare Training Consultancy

  • Gill is such good fun, and this makes people feel relaxed around her. Nothing is too much trouble and I love her ‘can do’ attitude!”

    Gina Hardesty
    Service user led training from the heart of practice and education at Ivycare Training Consultancy

The images used on the website page backgrounds are based on graphic records
produced in real time during 'Whose Shoes®' events by New Possibilities Ltd.

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