Coincidentally, the day after the first Aurora meeting in Cardiff, I had the opportunity to attend a similar event for women leaders in business schools organised in Oxford by the Association of Business Schools. There is one particular point that I want to share and which links well to what has been presented in Cardiff; that is: One’s leadership style can develop by adopting a range of roles OUTSIDE academia (and not just inside).
Credit for this point goes to Prof Nelarine Cornelius, probably the only black female professor in a business school who gave an inspirational talk on her own personal journey at the event in Oxford.
Indeed, often leadership roles in our own universities may not be available at the time we are ready to undertake them. Or of course these roles might be available but we are not confident or brave enough to put ourselves forward. Yet, the voluntary sector is crying out for academic expertise and can provide lots of opportunities for leadership to be enacted in a friendly, supportive and non-judgemental manner. I can resonate with this as I recently joined the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women in Business taking on the role of a mentor for a lady in Bangalore who is setting up an online coaching service. Similarly and in the memory of my dear dad who passed away recently, this week I set up links with ‘My Name is not Cancer’ organisation and will work with the founder to develop the collaborative aspect of their online site.
Not only these are great opportunities for making an impact (hugely important nowadays in academic terms) by applying academic knowledge on real people and organisations, but they are also reenergising and empowering experiences that can inform one’s personal and leadership development.