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Six reasons to be grateful for #WomenEd

Being-Thankful
by Vicky McKinlay

1. Through attending #WomenEd events I have gained a greater awareness of the issues that women face in education, e.g. flexible working, and I have taken personal action to be #10%braver.

My first experience of a #WomenEd event was when I was invited to the #WomenEd North West England Unconference at BCHS in 2022. My friend had spoken to me about #WomenEd for a while and it seemed interesting but I had no idea what to expect at the event.

My initial impressions were that it was very informal, yet professional and there was a warm, welcoming atmosphere. It was clear that there were some strong, established relationships, yet everyone was valued and included. I selected my workshops for the day.

There was so much choice it was hard to decide!

I then attended the Global Unconference in September 2023 in London and met inspiring men and women. I love that men are welcome and encouraged to attend and participate in our events! #heforshe

This year I am excited to be co-leading a NW 'Walk with #WomenEd' with the brilliant Chris Reddy on the 16th of March (book in!) and I will have the privilege of leading a session on coaching at our next #WomenEd North West England Unconference on the 20th April. #10%braver.

2. Meeting and being inspired by inspirational women: their experiences, insights and their candour.

"The success of every woman should be the inspiration to another. We should raise each other up. Make sure you're very courageous: be strong, be extremely kind, and above all be humble." Serena Williams

It is so important that women champion other women so that women can be promoted if they choose to be, to reduce gender inequality in senior roles.

I have had the pleasure of attending and participating in sessions delivered by so many amazing women who have given me new insights, perspectives and ways of working and I am grateful to all of them.

Shanaz Hussain is the Headteacher at BCHS, I had the privilege of hearing her keynote speech about her leadership journey and her background.She champions diversity and flexible working and is a fantastic, inspirational role model.

Julia Seggie was my line manager for many years and in her workshop on line management she reminded me that the best and most effective conversations don't always have to be in a formal setting, one of our most memorable and effective conversations took place in the school grounds on a bench. A purposeful relationship between an employee and line manager, (and any other relationship), is built one conversation at a time and the setting can change the atmosphere. Julia is a brilliant leader, she is intuitive, empathetic and logical and I have learnt so much from her.

I have attended face-to-face sessions and watched webinars where Vivienne Porritt presented her views on leadership, flexible working, imposter syndrome and the importance of coaching. The insights that I gained helped me to question my own ideas and beliefs and find opportunities to advocate for flexible working. I also realised that if women in leadership don't have dependents, I value their candour if they acknowledge that their leadership journey has been easier.

I have worked with Dr Nasima Riazat for many years and have had the pleasure of attending an online #WomenEd twitter event that she hosted about equity and diversity, which helped me to consolidate my views. Nasima is truly inspirational and I value her experience, wisdom and perceptiveness, which she shares in abundance.

3. The opportunity to study a L5 coaching apprenticeship programme

Through #WomenEd I became aware of the opportunity to study an online funded Level 5 Coaching Apprenticeship through the CVP group, lead by Yasmin Ariff, and I am thankful to my school for supporting my development.

Yasmin is a highly talented coach and leader and I have learnt so much, it's the best CPD that I've had in years! I'm part of a mixed cohort, I am learning with other apprentices in other professions. I am well-supported and look forward to all our sessions. My coachees report that they are making great progress and are gaining new insights.

I thoroughly recommend the course to anyone that is interested in helping people to reach their potential.

4. Developing relationships with amazing colleagues and collaborating when planning events

I love attending our events as I meet new people, share ideas and strategies and always leave feeling better than when I arrive.

Come along and invite a friend!

5. Being a part of a global community

#WomenEd is a global grassroots movement and there are regular events. I love reading posts on twitter about what is taking place and meeting amazing people from other countries who travel to our events in the UK. It's great to be part of a wider movement!

6. For what is to come: new seasons and hope for the future

I'm so excited about what will happen next, how #WomenEd will evolve and the opportunities that I can pursue or encourage other women to pursue.

I pledge to continue to be thankful for all the inspiring women and allies that enrich my life and aim to be a strong advocate for women in my workplace and beyond.

I wish to continue to actively champion other women, one conversation at a time!
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Friday, 01 March 2024

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