5 years ago today we launched #WomenEd. The energy and excitement in the room as 200 women in education came together at Microsoft HQ in Victoria, London, was palpable and it gives me goose bumps even thinking about it.
5 years on and today Diana Osagie, CEO of Courageous Leadership, launched the Academy of Women’s Leadership, via zoom. The butterflies were the same – anticipation for the impact this initiative will have, the power this community will generate.
How things have changed in the last 5 years in how we connect and collaborate?
How things have changed for me in the last 5 years, both personally and professionally?
I entered the zoom room, buzzing with excitement, to meet the 50 women in leadership, from a range of different sectors, from around the world, who we will work with this year. I am one of the 13 women in leadership veterans working with Diana to bring the AWL programme to life. I felt privileged to be there as a curriculum designer, session facilitator and coach for the inaugural AWL cohort.
Diana dived straight in!
Anyone who has met Diana will know that once you have met her, you cannot un-meet her. Anyone who has met Diana will know she puts the rocket up your backside. There is no hiding. She challenges you in every way to make the changes you need to make. She lives her brand of courageous leadership to her very core.
Her opening wisdom was advice to all as we step into this journey about an affirmation to our current selves:
“Whilst I am making upgrades, I will not criticise the current version of myself…”
Diana had asked me in the late summer who I thought would be an inspiring and empowering keynote for the launch – I realised I knew the perfect person! During the summer when I was in Devon catching up with my sister she had introduced me to Michelle Robinson. Her words to us both individually had been “you must meet, you have so much in common, you will get on like a house on fire”. When we did meet our world’s collided as we realised we shared the same vision, values and passions about people, leadership, authenticity and representation. We even had some mutual contacts in common and we later realised she had come to a school where I was AHT to present awards for sports day!
So Michelle agreed to share her journey as an Olympian, as a woman, as a wife, as a mother, as a daughter with the cohort. AWL is about us showing up as our whole selves, of us stepping in our truth, about us sharing what makes us vulnerable, about us owning our authenticity and she did not disappoint.
Michelle shared her story of going to therapy to process her journey and to become as strong internally as she was externally:
“You need to commit to investing in you… I am still a work in progress… I am more confident now at 48 than ever… because I know who I am!”
Some of the pearls of wisdom she shared:
“Say No Early!”
Don’t compromise who you are, what you need and what you want for others.
“Rise and Leave!”
Don’t hang around to be disrespected. Rise above the negativity.
“Find who is in your corner.”
Know who has your back and who is championing you.
“YOU know where to find me. Go and find YOU! Own YOUR journey. Own YOUR truth!”
Self-awareness and authenticity of the way forward for everyone to have a happier, more confident and more fulfilled live, and a healthier relationship with ourselves.
The 60 minutes flew by as we listened, we reflected and we discussed our journeys as women in leadership. Diana chaired the Q&A superbly, and held the safe space we had created, for some of the community to share some deeply personally stories about their personal and professional journeys.
There are so many takeaways from this first hour of the year long programme, but my reflections are on the collective vision and responsibility of this group of women in leadership.
We all know our ‘why’ for being a leader. We all know ‘what’ our goal is. But often we are not confident in the ‘How’. The Academy of Women’s Leadership fills that space, the workshops, the reading, the coaching are all tools and resources to empower everyone to be, to become, to own the leader inside of them in an authentic and courageous way.
Are you ready to join us for a journey of self-discovery and growth?
To find out more:
Check out the website, the videos and take the Influence and Confidence test.
Follow the #AcademyWomensLeadership posts on social media to see the feedback from the 1st cohort.
Join a Discovery Call with Diana to find out more about the programme and how to join cohort 2 launching in January 2021.