Elayne Coakes (Dr) Senior Lecturer, Information and Knowledge Management
As the CEO to be of a charity in formation the first thing I found out was that I was the CEO! and not the Chair of the Board …the difference had escaped me. So I found out a lot about how Boards need to run and what we had to do make them run smoothly.
I also had the opportunity to be advised about next steps and thus next steps into mentoring and finding partners for our projects were offered which has proved enormously helpful. I think the main thing I have learnt is not to be ‘shy’, to be pro-active in coming forward and always to ask for what you want for the organisation and for yourself as you may be surprised into getting it! So increased self-confidence in myself and my ability to get things done.
Jenny Kalenderidis, RSA
Something different happens when you are in a room with just women. Working in an environment when I am usually the only woman in the room makes that difference feel very apparent and one that has felt strangely liberating. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I joined the course but it has been a rich mix of practical guidance and knowledge sharing, coupled with life experience of working on a board that has given me the room to just think.
The range and diversity of the speakers and topics we have been treated to has reflected the fluid nature of this topic. The environment has enabled us to be open and free – no egos or concerns around keeping face seem to have bothered us, more just a normal sense of getting to know one another and exploring the subject and content together whilst also exploring our own path.
Being a shy child who’s been on a long road till today – a career in the stressful world of technology sales may seem like a strange choice – but perhaps the career chose me and perhaps the course did too! That’s certainly how I have felt through the approach that Ruth and the team have taken with us all – a privilege – and certainly for me a luxury to be able to spend that precious day a month focusing on me!
Spending a day with a very talented group of people once a month for the sole purpose of sharing, learning and exploring is I think something we all need to build room for in our lives. We all need networks, we all need support, we all need a way to be authentic and not dragged into the route of fitting in, blending into a male facsimile of ourselves. Trying to fit a blueprint is exhausting – we can only truly be effective if we are true to ourselves. That’s why we need more women on boards because we are different and we bring a different perspective that in the end allows balance back in to the boardroom.
My thanks to Ruth, Jayne and all the team – and of course my fellow cohort students!
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