Type of Fellowship: General
Year of Fellowship: 2014
How have the last few months been for you, Eugenie?
Pretty jam-packed. The biggest change is that I am pregnant, with boy no. 2 due to arrive in April. It was stressful early on in the pregnancy due to a lot of extra tests, and so managing all that anxiety while still running Spark+Mettle I found difficult. On top of that, I lost confidence in my ability to lead - a hangover from all the summer stuff. Saying that the organisation has been thriving and the revised core programme has been really successful. Since January I've been in the process of transitioning my responsibilities to our Programmes Director, who will be the interim CEO while I am on maternity leave. I've got a lot further ahead with my research. And I’m on a part-time secondment with (the brilliant) Early Intervention Foundation (www.eif.org.uk), which I am relishing. There has also been a lot of work and training in my role as a school governor these last few months.
What has been your greatest challenge?
The balance of looking after myself and actually getting everything done that has needed to be done has been a real challenge. I have had an overwhelming sense of responsibility—and I think it's that plus the pregnancy worries that have made me realise I would need to reconsider how I am going to work from the autumn onwards, while having two small children running around.
In what way you are a better leader now than at the start of the Fellowship?
I am more structured (although I doubt I will ever be rigid), I am better at managing admin tasks and I have confessed to areas of weakness and found support for them. I think in general I am just much more aware of what I am good at and what will never be my forté. For example, I know I'm good at setting things up, less good at getting them systematised. I think that I am a supportive leader and am getting better at striking a balance between giving free rein and providing structure to others. And I am better at asking challenging questions, rather than being incessantly positive!
Tell us about an important lesson you’ve learnt so far during the Fellowship.
Not to take on too much. I have realised that I don't have to realise all my ambitions I have for my life within the 24 months I am doing the Fellowship Programme! And that it's okay to take a break from being in the driving seat in every aspect of life all at once - breadwinner, parent, leader. My metaphor would be this: that each aspect or role in our life is a field, and for them to be as fertile as possible, they sometimes need to lie fallow. They can't all grow crops to the max all the time. The trick is finding the right cycle for each, and for them all altogether.
Personal website/ blog: eugenieteasley.com
Current principal role: Founder
Other leadership role 1: LA Governor
Other organisation 1: Queen's Park School, Brighton
Other leadership role 2: Founder and Chair
Other organisation 2: Spark+Mettle
Research: Teach to lead: what can leaders learn from teachers?
Research topics: Education; Leadership; Social enterprise;
Secondment host: Freeformers