Making a difference for female leaders

2 minute read

My motivation

In this blog, I want to share my personal experiences which include the challenges and victories that came with being resilient in achieving my goal of promoting female leaders.

I chose this programme because I wanted to make a difference in helping female leaders in Zambia to reach their full potential in their various organisations. I wanted to pioneer a women’s leadership programme within the organisation that I worked for where there were so few women in executive management and a lot of passive resistance to gender inclusion.

For me being accepted into a programme at Oxford answered a long outstanding ambition to be aligned to one of the best learning institutions in the world. Even though I attended the week-long programme at Oxford in 2013, I still have enduring memories of the course content and engagement which left an indelible mark on my life.

My experience 

We had a dynamic group of speakers led by Kathryn Bishop who helped us to understand our leadership styles and gave us tools to navigate our present challenges.

Amongst the most important lessons were the following:

  • Your team will move at the pace which you lead them - this was illustrated when we were taken into a Chapel and a choir was being directed. It was evident that when the choirmaster slowed down the team did the same. I always use this example when I’m leading teams realising that the team watches me and moves at my pace.
  • The Myers Briggs personality assessment was a game-changer for me because it allowed me to better understand and accept my quiet strength and collaborative leadership style. It freed me from believing that I had to be as aggressive as my male colleagues to be successful.

Real-life application

After returning from Oxford, I landed with renewed vigour to set up a women’s leadership forum at the bank where I worked. I convinced my CEO to provide budgetary support to develop a network of female leaders and provide leadership training as well as mentorship programmes. Five years later when I joined Zambia Revenue Authority in 2016 we replicated this concept on an even grander scale. Through these engagements, we started to get a better understanding of the challenges that women faced in their leadership journey.

Having left these organisations, I am proud to state that attending Oxford, enabled me to leave a mark of distinction and move the needle with regard to having a more gender-inclusive leadership in various Zambian institutions and I would recommend this programme immensely.

Women Transforming Leadership