I want to change the world. I came to Clore Social looking to learn with and from others about how to have a greater impact - and to lead where previously I’ve found myself much happier following others. The results have astounded me.
Within six weeks of starting the programme, I was offered a new job, setting up the campaigns arm of an organisation working to tackle inequality experienced by children and families in the North East of England. Having always been part of a team of campaigners, working together on clearly defined campaigns, it was a leap. Knowing that through Clore Social, I would be part of a community who would support me, and who I could crowd-source ideas from, hugely encouraged me to jump in wholeheartedly.
For me, one of the most powerful aspects of the programme was the Action Learning. This small group peer-coaching model pushed me to think bigger than I ever had before, speaking aloud dreams I had never put words to. What would I love to have achieved 20 years from now? What is stopping me doing that now?
In that room, in that two hour slot, I spoke for the first time about my dream to campaign on gender equality and support women in leadership - something I have long cared about but have no direct experience in. I started to think, what would be the most ambitious thing I could do? If I could do anything, what would I try? The answer came to me pretty fast: go to the UN to lobby for gender equality. It was a crazy thought, but I started asking around if anyone knew how I could do it as my secondment for the programme. It was a game - my game: ‘I wonder what I can make happen…?’
To my amazement, within days, someone came back with an invitation for me to be part of the UN Women UK delegation going to the Commission on the Status of Women in New York. It was the answer to a prayer.
But two weeks in New York looked prohibitively expensive, so my next dream was to secure funding to go. Numerous people told me that no-one would fund me and that it was too short notice. But it was part of my game, so I played, spurred on by what I had already made possible. A few weeks of phone calls and emails later, a foundation agreed to fund me. And so, it is happening. I fly out on the 9th March, fully funded to shadow UN Women UK at the UN.