Tuesday 24-01-2017 - 10:00
Rori was a participant on last years’ Aspiring Women Leaders Programme while she was the Communications Manager at King’s College London Students’ Union. We’re now catching up with Rori six months later to find out about her thoughts about the course, what she’s learnt, and how it’s helped her in her career so far.
What motivated you to apply for the Aspiring Women Leaders Programme?
I had started noticing how important women leaders at my union were in inspiring me in my career and personal life. I was being given leadership responsibilities in my own role and wanted to make sure I was doing everything I could to be the sort of leader that could encourage someone else.
What has been the most useful thing you've learnt, and how has that impacted your leadership journey since the course?
Identifying the leadership style(s) I most comfortably fit into and how best to work with people with different leadership styles.
This taught me how to make the most of the way I like to interact with people, and how to manage the downfalls of my preferred leadership style. It also taught me how to make the most of working with people with differing styles.
I’ve been able to practically use this information in meetings to manage collaborations and to prevent disagreements from getting more heated than necessary.
Learning about the experiences from a variety of women was also invaluable. Whereas I personally have never felt my gender or race held me back, I spoke to many women who undeniably have been because of those factors. This has made me see the importance of being mindful of how others are treated, and speaking up when needed. It was also heartening to see how many of us shared the same concerns (eg imposter syndrome) and overcoming them together.
Why do you think a leadership course designed specifically for women is so important?
Misogyny and sexism in the workplace (and in society) are so ingrained that it can be really hard to realise when we help perpetuate it.
We tend to notice when someone holds our opinions or knowledge in lesser regard to a man’s (something that happens often in the workplace), or judge people on their behavior according to their gender.
It’s important for a woman-specific leadership course to identify these problems, talk openly and honestly about them without being told we’re overreacting, and educate others when we return in practical, inclusive ways.
As both a Woman and a Black member of staff, have you faced greater barriers into leadership?
I personally haven’t faced barriers beyond sometimes not being taken seriously at meetings, but after meeting a diverse range of women on the course, I feel this may be because I am from a very diverse part of England, and because of the roles I tend to take.
What advice would you give to other aspiring women leaders who are considering applying?
I would really recommend putting in the time to attend the course and reflect after – we often don’t spend enough time thinking about our goals and how best to achieve them, and this course gave me the time and space to do that, and make big differences in my life, something that I had put off doing because other things in my life felt so important at the time.
As a result of being happier with how I was being perceived at work and being comfortable with the style of leader that I am, I’ve been able to get a job more aligned with my goal and most importantly, be a better and more supportive colleague and friend - something I wasn’t expecting.
Are you interested in joining our Aspiring Women Leaders programme? You can find more information online here.