Stepping Out – Women in Leadership Conference
Reflecting on this school year as it comes to an end, I’m so excited to see how much our humble little Women in Leadership group has grown. The culmination of our efforts was our end of year conference back in July. The topic of the day was Stepping Out, a fitting one as we look for inspiration and support as we start to take the next steps in our careers. We had four amazing speakers from four very different industries who came to speak to us in the Vincent Building.
Our MBA course director, Dr. Steffi Hussels, opened the conference with her experiences in academia. She spoke about how important it was to support each other and learn to trust that we are capable of great things.
Tanya Mann Rennick, a mindset mentor, talked to us about confidence. Having conquered many personal challenges herself, she now speaks at conferences, seminars, and workshops to help others do the same. We also tried some exercises to learn how to feel more powerful, happier, and more fulfilled with everything that we do.
Zara Ansari is a Master’s student at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. She has implemented health programmes in Pakistan, focusing on disability and global surgery, and spoke to us about global awareness of women’s rights. We learned through her experiences how important it is to listen to others and learn from them when we try to help.
Lisbeth Fromling, the Chief Quality, Health, Safety & Environment Officer for Network Rail spoke about her journey in male-dominated fields as an engineer working in the oil industry and the manufacturing industry. She also spoke about the initiatives Network Rail has put together to help deal with stereotypes, not just gender but many others.
We also had a joint panel session with these three speakers, where the Women in Leadership group and the audience was able to ask questions on different perspectives on things like encouraging women to step out more, how to support one another, and the best piece of advice they have gotten.
Our final keynote speaker for the conference was HM Lord-Lieutenant of Bedfordshire Helen Nellis, who spoke about her journey to get to her position and learnings that we can all take forth to the future. One thing that stuck with many of us was breaking the myth of having it all, and what types of sacrifices would be needed to try and achieve that.
We were all so very honoured to have these amazing women come and speak to us for this conference and so glad to have created a precedent for the incoming class. It has been hard work, we have had lots of long days and some stumbles, but I am proud of what we have achieved, and I’m glad we can pass on our learnings going forward. From the bottom of our hearts, the Women in Leadership group would like to thank all of the faculty and external speakers who have helped us along this journey, and each and every member who came and took part and helped support us with these events.
All good things must come to end but I’m just so very glad that we can pass this on to good hands. We wish the newcomers to Cranfield the best of luck with their year. We can’t wait to see what amazing things this year’s cohort will be able to organise in the pursuit of helping each other become stronger and more amazing people.
Signing off for the last time with much love and respect for all.
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