Victoria Muir

The leadership development journey of one of our FiMT supported fellows

Victoria Muir is one of our Forces in Mind Trust supported fellows who completed the Clore Fellowship Programme in 2017. We had the pleasure of interviewing her to learn more about what the experience has meant for her and her leadership development journey in the context of the Armed Forces Charities sector.

Looking back, what are the 3 most important skills you learned? How do you implement these lessons into your organisation?

One of the most important aspects for me was learning from the other fellows. Often, from my experience within the Military Charitable sector, we work very closely with each other but not always across the social sector as a whole so it was extremely beneficial for me to learn how people from different sectors worked. By completing the Clore Fellowship alongside having the validation of FiMT’s support, I have gained confidence in my abilities and learnt new skills. I certainly feel that where I might not have put my voice forward before, I am much happier to add it to the debate.

If there’s something that is challenging me now, I will go back to the principles I learned through the programme, step back and reflect.

Did the course help you to become a better leader, and if so, how?

Definitely and one of the areas that I found most helpful was going through processes that I had not been through or was possibly not aware of previously. For instance, I had never taken part in, and was a little sceptical of the Action Learning Sets. I quickly learnt that the process allowed me to really think through situations or challenges and learn that often, I did in fact have the answers, I just needed to take time to challenge myself, reflect and find them. We don’t often get the time to step away from everyday life and everyday work and to be able to take that time to learn more about ourselves and move forward. There were things about myself I may not have realised without going through the Clore process. If there’s something that is challenging me now, I will go back to the principles that I learned through the programme, step back and reflect. This has been particularly valuable when starting a new role.

What would you say are the key leadership issues the Military and Service Charity sector is facing? Can better leadership development address these issues?

The Military sector can often appear to be quite small and a number of people will often move directly from a Service career into working for a Military charity. Whilst it is important to have that knowledge and understanding, it can sometimes mean that organisations don’t always attract people from the wider social sector with the different skills and knowledge that this brings. Having access to and learning from people working in different specialities is certainly something I and my colleagues have found to be beneficial. I think that sharing information and skills both from within the military sector across the wider social sector and vice versa is something that is vital for development. It can often be very easy to stay working within the Military sector which can mean that new skills don’t always come in. Looking at my own experience, once I started working for a Military Charity over ten years ago, rather than moving to a different area of the social sector, I stayed within the military circle albeit it in different areas of delivery.

Take every opportunity you can to learn from as wide an area of the sector and be completely open-minded about learning new things.

What advice would you give others starting their leadership journey?

Take every opportunity you can to learn from as wide an area of the sector as possible and be completely open-minded about learning new things. I can say this from my own experience as the initial thought of an Action Learning Set was terrifying but it turned out to be one of the most valuable parts of my Clore experience. Sometimes we have preconceptions and it’s important to overcome them and see where that takes us. I know we all have an image of where we want to get to in our careers or leadership journeys and how we think we are going to get there, but, looking at my own journey, I have taken so many unconnected turns. If I look back at myself aged 18 and think about my plans for the future and where I wanted to be compared to where I am now, I would not change anything. If I had followed my original plan rather than taking every opportunity that came my way, I doubt that I would have learnt as much as I have and I certainly wouldn’t be the person that I am today. I think it is important to stay open-minded, and if that takes you off on a tangent, be brave and go where it leads you.

What would you have retrospectively changed in your leadership journey?

I am actually not sure if I would have changed anything. My original plan years ago was to go to University and study Law. For whatever reason, I decided not to and trained at Norland College to be a nursery nurse. This led to working all around the World, followed by volunteering in Bosnia which led to entering the charitable sector and working with the Armed Forces. If I had followed my initial plan, I doubt very much that I would be where I am now. I may not have always made the right career decisions, but I can honestly say that I have learnt from them all and they have brought me to where I am now.

Learn more about our programme for the Armed Forces Charities sector

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