More like a movement than a programme

3 minute read

It feels very long ago since I attended the Women Transforming Leadership programme at Saïd Business School and yet, I remember it clearly and fondly as a pivotal point of my career development. I had attended several development courses during the course of my professional life and whilst I felt that I needed to continue to learn and grow, I didn’t want to do another, more formulaic course. I was attracted to the programme because it appeared unique -  a cohort of global women leaders, experiential learning as well as deep information, and a chance to reflect and develop personal insights. I loved my experience on the programme and it has influenced my thinking on my career, meaningful work and life.

It was extraordinary to be with a group of strong women leaders from all parts of the world and realise how similar (and different) we were. And that our collective power has yet to be harnessed in a world that still often throws up challenges and barriers for women leaders. I remember saying to the course leaders, it felt more like a movement than a programme and it is fabulous that the movement has continued to grow.

The reflective moments and prompts to think differently were my favourite parts of the programme. As a senior leader in a global role, with three young children, life was on the go always and there was rarely time to think and reflect and if I did get time to think, it was rarely about myself! The balance of challenge and support during the programme allowed me a safe space to think, share and plan what was most important for me at that time to take forward. Some of it was surprising - surfacing areas that had not arisen before.

Since the programme, I’ve thought more clearly than ever before about what really inspires me and gives my work meaning - both inside my formal career and out. This has given me the confidence to be bold, share ideas, take risks and find time and energy to give back in community work alongside my career. I have been a senior executive reporting to the CEO and have been able to take up the challenges of my role with confidence and humility, keeping on learning and growing all the while. Most importantly, it allowed me to find my voice on things that matter to me.

I have realised that my leadership shadow is much bigger than I thought it was and while I have always been supportive, I am even more passionate now about encouraging emerging women leaders to challenge themselves and lead through their personal worries and anxieties. I also realised that there doesn’t need to be a fixed or rigid plan - life throws us many curves and windy paths and so enjoying the journey is more important than the destination.

For those considering this programme in future, I would encourage you to throw yourself into the experience and use the reflection time to think about the future. The answers are all within you and in the words of the great Maya Angelou, remember, 'Your mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humour and some style.'

Women Transforming Leadership