What have we learnt about getting women into leadership roles?

“When you walk through the open door of opportunity, you don’t slam it shut behind you. You hold it open.”  Michelle Obama

For the last two years the alliance has run two highly successful women’s leadership programmes and these culminated in a final celebration event on the ninth floor of city hall this week.

For us, this was not a celebration of the end of the programme, but of the beginning of some highly successful careers. The programmes were targeted at women aspiring to or already in senior leadership positions, and those aspiring to, or already in executive leadership positions. We have seen many of the women on these programmes move into new roles and they have all blossomed in terms of the confidence and skills they have developed. And what has helped them to grow and to believe in their own potential has been the power of the group, and of the role models they have met throughout the programme.

They have become a group who rely on, support and encourage each other. The skill set and potential is there – what they needed was someone to say ‘if I can do it, so can you?’  Their colleagues on the programme have done this. The highly skilled programme facilitators have done this, as well as creating the conditions that have enabled deeply supportive relationships to grow and develop within the groups. A number of inspirational female speakers have shared their experiences and given practical tips on managing the challenges and barriers to progressing their careers, which some of the women have faced and continue to face.

Personal skills analyses and one-to-one coaching have helped participants to identify their own strengths and qualities and strategically focus on developing skills that will help them move forward. Am organic programme structure meant the facilitators could be responsive to participants’ needs analyses and to their growing capabilities.

We are proud of the progress these women leaders have made, both in confidence, motivation, skills and understanding. We are sure they have a bright future in our schools and will make a huge difference to the lives of pupils in their care. And we are sure they will open doors for other women with leadership potential who follow in their wake.

This highly successful project was funded by The Equalities and Diversities Fund, which is now open and seeking bids to run future programmes of this nature. We want to help others seeking to run women’s leadership programmes through this funding source. To this end, we are running an information event here at Charles Dickens Primary School, Toulmin Street, London SE1 1AF on Monday 16th July 2018, 16:00-19:00.  At this event you can find out about:

  • The principles behind the programme and its aims
  • How the programme was designed and structured
  • What facilitators and participants have told us about the programme
  • What we have learnt about writing successful bids

If you are interested in coming along, please email us at info@southwarktsa.co.uk