My experience taking part in Empowering Women to Lead Digital Transformation programme
I feel extremely fortunate to have been given the opportunity and support by PDMS to attend the 2021 spring cohort of the Empowering Women to Lead Digital Transformation.
About the course
The course is a unique leadership programme for women in digital transformation roles, and is delivered by Empowering You and run in association with the Scottish Digital Academy, Scottish Government and ScotlandIS. At the end of the programme, graduates should feel they have the skills to become confident, capable and motivated leaders.
During the programme, participants will work individually and collaboratively to:
- Accelerate leadership potential and embrace a ‘leader as learner’ mindset
- Explore strategies to understand and engage more effectively with team members and stakeholders
- Understand and develop your own personal and authentic leadership skills
- Identify and respond to challenges within the team and organisation
- Leverage the combined expertise of peers to progress individual and collective growth
- Collaborate to deliver a team challenge project for the women in digital community
The course was split into three different areas:
- Coaching sessions
- A group presentation
Due to Covid, the course was delivered online. I was a little apprehensive about how successful a leadership course and interactions with other participants would be. How would it work meeting 18 women in a similar position to myself - how could we get that feeling of bonding and sharing through a screen rather than in person?
Anyway, my concerns soon disappeared when I entered my first workshop and we all met the fantastic team of Steve Cliff and Nathalie Britten taking us through our course. We looked at the type of leaders we were, explored our strengths, areas for development, and how all our personality traits can be used to lead and empower others.
What set this course apart from others that I’ve attended was that we were frequently divided into smaller ‘counsel groups’ to discuss any issues we encountered, and to practice our listening, coaching and leadership skills on each other. It was a place to talk about vulnerabilities, experiences and to listen to and offer suggestions on dealing with situations that crop up in work life and beyond.
Each workshop also had a specially invited guest speaker; our very own Jayne Hartley, Joy Bramfitt-Wanless, Angela Mitchell and Margaret Moore who each spoke to us about their personal leadership journeys. It was good for me to see that PDMS is definitely in the minority within the digital sector, more than 50% of our Board of Directors are women and gender is not seen as a barrier.
During the course, I had three individual coaching sessions with coach Lotta Olsson where I identified difficulties I wanted to overcome and she helped me learn skills to do this. I felt nervous going into a ‘coaching’ session as I'd not experienced anything like it before but I took the lead on what areas I wanted to overcome and Lotta helped me look at feelings and visualisations to help me become stronger and how to embody feelings to help deal with situations.
At the start of December, I was able to meet in person and graduate with most of the women from my Spring cohort as well as watch the brilliant presentations from the Autumn cohort.
The course taught me to be curious, listen - really listen - and be authentic. The bonds formed, the friendships, and the contacts made were priceless. There were tears, quite a lot on our final graduation day but I told myself it wasn’t really the end, it was just the beginning of all of our journeys, with newfound tools and empowerment to become better leaders.
I would recommend this course to anyone looking to become a better leader and wishing to learn how to empower themselves to do so.