#WomenEd – Why I look outwards not upwards

“Leadership is thinking and acting like a Goose” – Lorna Fitzjohn, Ofsted Regional Director for the West Midlands

Today has been amazing and I have to share my experience with you, because it might just be what you are looking for too.

Today I attended a #WomenEd Event for the the first time.

I have been really looking forward to this event, because I have been following their journey on Twitter and read numerous blogs written by and inspired by this grassroots movement.

The wonderful women who run WomenEd do it for the love of what they do. They aren’t getting paid!

I went to the event with out any specific expectations. I didn’t know anyone else going and I wanted to absorb the atmosphere.

I was not disappointed.

Everyone was warm, friendly and eager to network. Everyone wanted to collaborate, share and learn; and I have personally taken away so much from the day. I felt like it was ok to be me, because I was surrounded by people like me.

Here are my highlights…

The line up of speakers at an event where they weren’t getting paid was incredible… where else would you get representatives from the DFE, Ofsted and Chartered College all wanting to be part of an event.

Hannah Wilson – Outward Facing Leadership

I have been following and connecting with Hannah Wilson on Twitter and LinkedIn for some time and her workshop was my first choice. It was so inspiring. Her session called ‘Outward Facing Leadership‘ made me reflect on the leader I am.

She posed questions such as ‘Why was I looking outwards?‘ and ‘Why did I start networking?‘.

I network and look outwards because a role within the school business profession can be lonely. Unlike teachers, we don’t have 10, 20, 30+ professionals doing the same role as us within the same organisation. I want to learn and develop by collaborating with other school business leaders and I want to share my best practice and ideas too. It is an important part of who I am. I like having people around that I can bounce ideas with.

Hannah also gave us some useful tips on using social media. When using social media and other platforms use the same branding, for example the same profile photo so that people know it is you.

If you are building your network have you linked with leaders in your area on Twitter and LinkedIn?

We took the time to consider what our song and story are; and to identify our unique selling points.

Do you know what yours would be?

The Naked Leadmeet – hosted by Andrea Stephens & Kathryn Morgan

The Naked Leadmeet idea was fantastic and I would love to see this at future school business leaders event. Please don’t be concerned everyone was fully clothed!

The concept is a 5 minute presentation by a number of speakers, with a host to compare the session. Such a fantastic way to dip your toe in the water. The atmosphere was warm and friendly; a safe environment to try out their public speaking.

How fantastic would it be to see a growth in school business leaders speaking at events. I think this model is a real opportunity for school business leaders to improve a key leadership skill.

Jess Phillips MP – Everywoman: One Woman’s Truth About Speaking the Truth

The MP Jess Phillips reminded us to value ourselves and the things that we brush off that we do for others and others do for us, without any expectation of something in return. She told us that £3trillion pounds worth of unpaid work is done by women each year! Incredible.

As you can see it was an amazing day. I feel inspired.

Seizing the moment

It is all well and good talking and writing about learning and being inspired, but as every good business leader knows, it is ‘what you do’ that is important. I seized the moment and didn’t give myself the 5 seconds to reconsider. I took my first opportunity to be 10% braver by recording a vblog with @MrsJackman1 who I met walking in to the event and spent a lot of the day with. It was brilliant to experience the day with another business leader, especially with one who shares my enthusiasm for the profession. We said to each other so many times that other school business leaders would have benefited from and enjoyed today’s event.

Thank you #WomenEdWM for a fantastic event and to Shirelands Academy for hosting.

I am #WomenEd are you?