Type of Fellowship: General
Year of Fellowship: 2014
Update Spring 2014
How have you found you first quarter as a Clore Social Fellow?
The Fellowship has begun to feel very real. The January residential, my first Action Learning Set, and writing my Leadership Development Plan, have all been significant milestones in their own unique way.
Another highlight was presenting to a group of prospective 2015 Fellows at one of the Clore Social information events in London. In my presentation I tried to put into practice what John Cremer, a facilitator at the January residential, taught us about stepping forward; taking a risk; and trusting oneself. Following this advice, I did the presentation with forethought, but without notes.
Finally, I’ve had a chemistry session with one potential coach and another potential mentor. Both were very helpful and I am going to ‘test the water’ with two other coaches in the next two weeks before making a decision.
Have there been any challenges?
The Leadership Development Plan was difficult for me. I am not pre-disposed to thinking so systematically about myself and what I intend to prioritise over a period of time. Instead I tend to favour an ‘organic’ approach. So this was a good discipline.
The other difficulty that I found was to try and take an overview of the Fellowship and see the elements as part of a whole. That meant that I had to develop an overarching set of aims, and to aim to reach them through the various elements of the programme.
As difficult as this was it was also a helpful process. It helped me to identify an idea of 'BME organising 3.0' a codename for a new approach to race equality. I also identified an approach to guide my involvement in the Fellowship building on my 360 assessments and Four Seasons Profiling Questionaire appraisal. In particular, I want to practice putting myself in the riskier and more vulnerable positions, e.g. of being an ‘out there’ persuader and campaigner.
How has your leadership had an impact on those you work with?
In my role as a Trustee I feel that I have been a bit more challenging and questioning, not seeking out conflict but being less uncomfortable with it.
In what way are you a better leader now than at the start of the Fellowship?
I am taking the lead in a Clore Prize Fund bid. I am not sure if this will come off because there are numerous moving parts and institutional complexities associated with the project, but I feel that I am giving clear and confident steer to this in a way.
This would have been more difficult prior to the Fellowship. Even in the short while of the Fellowship I am more clear on the value of my inputs and intervention. In some ways this has been the case because the Fellowship is in itself highly validating even before the elements of the programme have got underway.
Tell us an important lesson you’ve learnt so far during the Fellowship
There are many. I learned from my trip to a community project and council during the residential that there are all kinds of alliances to be made and allies may be in unusual places if you can find them and engage with them. A related one connected to the Four Seasons Profiling Questionaire assessments is that people are very different, and treating people how you want to be treated is not enough. Treat them how they want to be treated.
A third lesson comes from something that Jeremy Keeley, a facilitator at the January residential, said: ' we are good people with good intentions doing the best we can with what we have to work with at that particular moment.' That is comforting because I usually think I tend to think that I am not doing enough. I still retain my urgency but perhaps am a bit more gentle on myself now.
What have you learnt from your fellow Fellows?
My first Action Learning Set was really amazing. I received the wisdom of the group and it helped to clarify how I want to position myself as a leader.
I had a very helpful, but at the time unenjoyable, conversation with another Fellow which challenged me to think about how I was using the Fellowship and I in turn challenged them. I suppose we were testing out some of our new coaching skills. It was really helpful and we had a good conversation about it afterwards. I feel that the whole process has strengthened our connection.
How would you sum up your Fellowship journey so far?
Emerging out of my PhD I know that this next period in my career represents a crossing. In this first quarter I feel that I have been supported to sketch out a map to help me with that transition. The map may not prove to be the ‘right’ one in the end but it feels important to have it and to be supported to construct it.
Current principal role: Equalities strategist
Other leadership role 1: Associate
Other organisation 1: Voice4Change England
Other leadership role 2: Member
Other organisation 2: Runnymede 360 network (Race equality)
Research: The New Black: The renewal of Black-led race equality organising
Research topics: Equality; Leadership;
Secondment host: Citizens UK