Type of Fellowship: General
Year of Fellowship: 2014
Update Spring 2014
How have you found your first few months as a Clore Social Fellow?
The first quarter of the Fellowship has been a remarkable adventure. Beginning with an introduction to an inspiring cohort of fellows; a 360° assessment of leadership discovery; a week long residential in Poole, meeting motivating coaches, and culminating in an intense period of introspection and reflection following my first experience of an Action Learning Set.
I have completed my leadership development plan, secured a mentor and a coach and connected with some wonderful and inspiring people I would have not met had it not been for the programme. It has been a truly engaging and reflective process and I am excited to see what the following months have to offer.
Have there been any challenges so far?
I am determined to get the most that I can out of this amazing opportunity but balancing work pressures with the Fellowship has not been easy for me during this initial phase.
However, the structure of the programme and the support from the Clore Social team and other Fellows is providing me with a solid foundation to help me discipline my work. It has also given me the impetus to pull in support from other sources. The programme values ‘know yourself, be yourself and look after yourself’ have also provided me with a clear framework for challenging my ideas and thoughts on effective leadership, and helped me to reflect on both work and personal related matters.
How has being a Clore Social Fellow had an impact on those you work with?
The thought-provoking sessions from the first residential and feedback from the 360° assessment have allowed me to understand theories of motivation, team dynamics, and how to create environments in which people can do their best work.
As a result, and despite the unprecedented pressures MiCLU face due to legal aid reform, I have been able to encourage our legal team to embrace creativity, step out of their silos and work in collaboration as a means to respond to recent changes. In turn, we have decided to work together on a publication to help highlight the voices and legal needs of separated migrant children and young people in the care system – an often hidden group of young people.
In what way are you a better leader now than at the start of the Fellowship?
The Fellowship has really helped me to expand my views on ‘leadership’ - dispelling my mistaken beliefs and fears of the traditional concept of leadership as a means to manage projects and people. Instead it has reinforced my ability to create an environment where my team can come together around a shared vision and encourage strengths and talents- so that we can better serve our young beneficiaries.
I have learnt to be more open when I have concerns and how to work together to resolve and address issues- rather than doing it alone to protect others from difficult decisions that must be made to further the aims of our work and vision.
Tell us an important lesson you’ve learnt so far during the Fellowship.
Firstly, it’s ok to say no– actually sometimes it is imperative that you do. Secondly, I have particular strengths, driven by my values, which have guided me to where I am today and I need to learn not to suppress those strengths and instead explore, understand, cherish, and expand them.
These lessons have triggered a journey of real self-discovery and helping me reframe myself as a leader and to take this personal, authentic and unique definition much more seriously.
Have you learnt anything from the other Fellows on the Programme?
I have cherished the discussions I have had with Maria Adebowale and Esther Foreman. Their reflections on my practice have been challenging and insightful. They have helped me to think through how I may expand the reach of my work and certainly given me more clarity in terms of various options available. Most importantly they have given me accountability to progress my vision.
This support and comradery has made me feel more connected to my role as a social leader and lessened the feeling of isolation that can sometimes come with the work that we do. I have also cherished the personal support I have received from Jane Bruce. Her words of support, encouragement and humour have been invaluable!
If you had to summarise your Clore Social experience so far....
Calmness from the chaos can create leadership clarity
Current principal role: Solicitor and Founding Director
Current principal organisation: Migrant & Refugee Children's Legal Unit
Other leadership role 1: Founder & Legal Expert
Other organisation 1: Principles to Practice project (Law Centre's Network)
Other leadership role 2: Expert Panel member
Other organisation 2: Strategic Legal Fund for vulnerable young migrants
Research: More than just a good story? Transforming the leadership of organisations through the lived experience.
Secondment host: UNICEF