Obliterating assumptions and viewing female leadership through a new lens

3 minute read

A crossroads

In a nutshell, Women Transforming Leadership, changed my life. Sounds dramatic doesn’t it, but I really feel that it did. It changed my perspective on my career and completely obliterated any assumptions I had about the limitations of what I can and cannot achieve. It is so freeing, refreshing and energising to see yourself with new eyes and to feel that opportunities you had previously discounted are within reach.

This is all well and good but how on earth does a training course do this?

If, like me, you’ve ever been told you’re ‘too girly’, not serious enough for senior roles or that your personality is not suited to leadership, then you’ll understand why I arrived at a crossroads in my career. Essentially, I wanted to progress. I felt passionate about what I do, but I also felt quite strongly attached to my personality and had a desire to lead in a way that felt right for me.

Clarity from discomfort

The chance to go and spend time with other female leaders, learn with them and from them was an opportunity I could not miss. I spent a wonderful week with thirty-six women leaders from all over the world, and from many different sectors, for conversations about leadership. It was comforting to be able to talk so openly about the issues that women face, the strengths we can bring to the table, and to debate how much we often need to compromise of ourselves to be seen as leaders. Yet it was also uncomfortable at times too; shining a light on what motivates you, how you view success, examining your successes and failures, and perceptions of yourself and your abilities.

It can be incredibly tough to push through this, emotional certainly, but as a very wise and wonderful woman said 'on the other side of uncomfortable is awesome' Gina Worthey, Managing Director at Worthey Solutions International and Women Transforming Leadership alumna. And she was right, the process was difficult but ultimately extremely rewarding and cathartic.

But herein lies the brilliance of the course, not only is it incredibly informative and instructive; providing templates, models, and processes to help you identify, structure, and refine your own personal strategy. It gives you the space, time, and guidance to really reflect on yourself, where you have come from, where you want to go, and then, finally – what you need to get there.


Impacting real change

I left at the end of the week feeling motivated and inspired, and I still feel inspired all these months on. I have a clearer idea of who I am, where I want to be and many, many ideas about what I can to do to get there. I gained what I hope will be lifelong friends, allies, and cheerleaders in the cohort. We speak regularly on WhatsApp to support one another’s achievements, share struggles, and learn from our shared experiences. The idea that leadership can and should be redefined and made to work for women is a powerful one. Each one of us on this course, and those that came before, are taking these learnings, applying them to ourselves, and, with any hope, inspiring other women to be the leaders they are, lifting each other up. I for one intend to pay it forward and impact real change in my industry, leading by example to show how transformative women can be in our leadership.

A HUGE thanks goes out to all the incredible faculty, guests, and cohort, you’ve changed me for the better. And thank you to Yonder Consulting for helping me on my leadership journey – now time to change the shape of leadership!

Oxford Women Transforming Leadership Programme.