Thursday 16-06-2016 - 11:02
Katie Badman is Head of Membership Engagement at the University for the Creative Arts Students' Union. We asked Katie to take the Hot Seat and recall her time as President of Chester SU, in an all-woman sabbatical team, and the invaluable experience she gained from her coach as part of the 'I Will Lead the Way' leadership coaching programme.
What was your experience of leadership before you signed up to the coaching programme? (Were you elected into any positions at the time?)
When I was President at Chester SU I was part of the NUS Women in Leadership Programme for officers, in which I was mentored by a great woman chief exec at another students’ union (Jane @ Liverpool SU! – shout out, Jane!). That experience showed me how valuable having another person or group of people could be for my own development as well as building my confidence that what I was doing at Chester SU, was what we could be collectively working on as a movement.
What motivated you to sign up to the programme?
I was part of an all-woman sabbatical team, which when I was elected I didn’t really think about as being astonishing. After a few months we found out that there was only one other all women team. Knowing this made me think a little bit more about how and why this was such a rare occurrence, especially when at conferences I find myself surrounded by male presidents. I also saw this as a great way to find out more about students’ unions as a whole – I knew my own very well, but wider movement knowledge really helped me be the best officer I could for Chester students.
Did coaching help you become a better leader, if so in what ways?
The coaching absolutely helped me to become a better leader, mainly through getting me to recognise my own strengths, where I already excelled as a leader and being able to utilise that better. It was also really helpful having an external person who completely understood students’ unions, and the troubles I may have been having but wasn’t there every day, so could look objectively at situations. My coach also broadened my knowledge of how few women senior managers there were across the sector which I hadn’t known previously.
What are you doing now and how has the coaching programme helped you in your role?
I am now the Head of Membership at University for the Creative Arts Students’ Union, having only finished as an officer in 2014. I was a Course Reps Coordinator at MDXSU for a year in between. The networks that my coach was able to bring me into helped me find out what roles there were in other SUs which I may like to apply for and gave me another person to bounce ideas off of who knew me in not only the way that I work, but also the skills that I had and how I saw myself. Through this she was able to suggest some students unions and job roles she thought would suit me (and also put in a good word!)
What advice would you give someone thinking about signing up?
DO IT! You’ve got absolutely nothing to lose, and huge amounts to gain!
Why do you think it’s important to have diverse leadership in our movement?
It’s so important that the leadership in our students’ unions of staff and elected officers is diverse and accurately reflects the membership that we are representing or working for. I was very lucky to have a women chief exec when I was president of my SU and I’m sure that encouraged me to believe I could do it, and if I can be that person for other students through my career then that would be a brilliant thing.
I Will Lead the Way is an NUS leadership coaching programme aiming to empower and support those who self-define into any of the following liberation groups: women students, Black students, disabled students and LGBT+ – and who are intending to stand for election or who are already elected and are considering standing for the position of president in their students’ union.
You can apply to become a coachee at any time, sign up here and we'll match you with a coach who best meets your needs and preferences.