8.57am December 1st 2016. It’s the first day of advent and I have a list of Christmas related jobs to be done but this writing can’t wait.
I decided to be brave earlier this week and travel down from Yorkshire to attend my first @WomenEd LeadMeet at the Harris Academy, Crystal Palace. Although I have been aware through my own twitter feed @kayeejay of the exciting work of Hannah Wilson @Miss_Wilsey nothing prepared me for the warmth of the welcome, the inspirational ideas and the positive energy that pervaded the room. We were encouraged to ‘find our tribe’ and I certainly felt that here was an exciting network of forward thinkers committed to supporting each other to develop resilience, courage and self-belief.
There was diverse representation at the event and it was good to hear viewpoints about leadership from women at different stages of their career. Honesty was a striking feature: at last the impact (and potential!) of maternity leave was aired; at last the sometimes tricky route to securing a leadership role was acknowledged; at last the word ‘bravery’ was used to encourage and empower.
In July, I left my full-time leadership role to develop my facilitation and coaching work. Until the Lead Meet, I confess I have been maybe rather apologetic when questioned about my desire to continue being active in the world of education after 34 years in the profession. But now, with my tribe behind me, I feel empowered to embrace my USP, build on the wealth of my experience and respond to the call to action prompted by events in 2016. I look forward to supporting the further development of @WomenEd in the North of England. Roll on 2017!