Thursday 18-02-2016 - 14:04
Shakira Martin is NUS Vice President Further Education. I Will Lead the Way is an NUS leadership coaching programme aiming to empower and support those who self-define across all of the liberation groups. We caught up with Shakira to find out how the programme supported her.
What were you doing before you signed up to the coaching programme?
Before I signed up to the 'I Will Lead the Way' leadership coaching programme I was studying my DETS (Diploma in Education and Training) at LewishamSouthwark College where I was president of my students' union.
Why did you decide to sign up?
I decided to sign up to the coaching programme because I wanted to become more involved in NUS and the student movement but needed more knowledge and confidence in doing so. I also felt that my experience of overcoming adversity would allow me to inspire, empower and motivate others to reach their full potential.
Did coaching help you become a better leader, if so in what ways?
The coaching programme helped me recognise my strengths and identify my weaknesses. I have developed the confidence to be myself, and not who anyone else expects or wants me to be. I am more confident in my politics and have a better understanding of my wider objective: to save lives and pass on the confidence that I have learnt through this process.
Since the programme I have been elected as NUS Vice President Further Education, begun to teach and educate my children in citizenship and society, and sit on a number of organisations’ advisory boards, such as the Education Training Foundation, UCAS and my daughters nursery - often being the only black women around the table. Since doing this progamme I am better at recognizing the oppression I face due to my identity and have found a way to use the pain and hurt from those oppressions to be my driving force to achieve great things, not just for me but for others.
How did coaching help you to win your election for VP FE?
Coaching helped me win my election as VP FE as it gave me the confidence to be myself and not be ashamed to share my story and where I have come from. It helped me learn to love myself and not be ashamed of who I am and accept that I deserve a chance to change my life and the lives of my two beautiful children.
What advice would you give someone thinking about signing up?
Do it…Do it now!
If you are paired with the right coach and the relationship between you and your coach works, if you’re open minded and willing to step out of your comfort zone this is the programme for you. Without my coach, I probably wouldn’t be answering these questions right now!!! Power to the women!!!!!
Why do you think it’s important to have diverse leadership in our movement?
Not until we have a diverse movement that reflects society, will we have diversity in parliament that truly reflects the people. That needs to start with the student movement driving and pushing forward and educating society on liberation and why it should be at the heart of everything we do as a society to ensure that the more vulnerable and disadvantaged people get opportunities to break the cycle of deprivation.
Sign up to the leadership coaching programme today - visit iwillleadtheway.org.uk