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Become the Successful Leader You Were Designed to Be

Are leaders born or made? Nature vs nurture? Leadership comes easy to me and over the years, my experience of being a leader and raising leaders has led me to the conclusion that leaders are first born and then made – by their circumstances and life experiences.

Perhaps you’re reading this because you want to develop your leadership skills but are unsure of where to start. Or an organisation that needs mentors for its staff, young people or students. Part of becoming a leader involves the nurturing of your leadership skills and being mentored into leadership.

I can help you nurture your leadership skills or those of your organisation’s through mentoring but first, let me share a bit about my leadership journey and experience:

My official foray into leadership began in my early teens at boarding school where I served as Junior House Captain in 2nd Form, a class subject prefect in 4th Form and as a Senior House Captain in 5th and 6th Forms overseeing the day-to-day running of one of nine dormitories housing about 160 girls aged 11-17.

These positions gave me a sense of responsibility and helped me develop my people and negotiation skills.  I learnt firsthand how to serve others with compassion and empathy; the importance of integrity, leading by example and always leading from the front. I also learnt about sacrifice and duty – being a Prefect meant returning to school a day before the rest of the students in order to prepare and help them settle into school, especially new students.

As a Senior House Captain I also learnt how to encourage and motivate others to accomplish both team and individual goals, manage a team and work with other House Prefects as part of the wider School Prefect Team to ensure the smooth running of my dormitory, wider student community and school. This  included leading on and overseeing preparations for weekly dormitory inspections; organising, selecting and coaching teams to represent the House at Inter-House music, poetry and drama competitions held over the school year.

As part of my day-to-day remit, I had to trouble-shoot and solve problems, show initiative, take disciplinary action when necessary, counsel and support my peers and junior students in a variety of circumstances e.g. provide a shoulder to cry on during a bout of homesickness.

As part of the wider School Prefect Team, I was allocated duties to ensure Lights Out, Prep times and other school rules were observed and covered for other prefects when required. When the time came to pass the baton on, I had to select, mentor, coach and assess some potential candidates before deciding with other House Prefects and Mistresses who my successor would be and ensure a smooth transition with minimal disruption.

All while maintaining good grades studying for my 9 O-Levels which I passed with flying colours!

One key principle these early leadership experiences taught me was that before you can lead others, you must first learn to lead yourself. This is what makes you stand out as a leadership candidate.

My Leadership and Mentoring Experience

Fast forward to adulthood and these skills have been further honed over the years while adding more leadership skills to my leadership quiver via a variety of experiences including:

I have served in various leadership capacities in organisations such as the UK National Health Service (NHS). For instance, I was seconded to Public Health and served as  Clinical Lead for a new and innovative evidence-based programme to manage obesity in primary care. Prior to this I was the Diabetes and Obesity Lead in my department and in both these capacities I mentored and trained other healthcare professionals and pre-registration dietitians, ensuring their competence to practice.

I enjoy the satisfaction that running my business brings and have experience of starting up and running a number of business ventures. I have also served as a director of a property management company.
As an entrepreneur I use my experience to train, guide and support aspiring  nutripreneurs and other entrepreneurs starting out on their business journey. In this vein,
I have lectured on Entrepreneurship at Coventry University and served as a business mentor as part of the UK government’s Start-Up Loans programme set up in 2012.

I served as the Chair of the British Dietetic Association’s Freelance Dietitians Specialist Group, an award-winning specialist network for around 400 dietetic entrepreneurs which grew under my leadership between March 2018 and June 2020.  I provided overall leadership, drive, motivation and coordination for the group’s Committee which successfully generated income which was used to deliver a number of key benefits to members and their businesses while representing member interests and liaising with the British Dietetic Association on their behalf. I also provided guidance to individual members on a variety of issues commonly experienced by nutrition entrepreneurs in the day-to-day running of their businesses.

I am a founding partner at the Leadership Matters Institute, a faith-based leadership development organisation focused primarily on developing leaders on the African Continent where I jointly lead on the Leadership Matters “30 Under 30” Mentoring Programme

I mentor with Esther’s Preparation Room (EPR), a global prayer and professional networking platform for the modern Christian woman who seeks to find purpose, relevance and self-actualization in an environment that fosters wholeness and meaningful relationships. I also deliver and facilitate a module on Holistic Living as part of the EPR mentoring programme.

I am a brand ambassador for Isosconnect, a company that builds digital practices for independent health practitioners. Isosconnect is a digital all-in-one practice management platform for delivering telehealth services. Key features include client data safety, ability to host secure video sessions with one-click client access and a marketing tool-cum-virtual PA to handle booking enquiries.

I served as a School Governor of an independent school, working closely with the Head Teacher to support and shape the future direction and development of the school. I challenged some of the current provisions in place for pupils and worked to provide solutions to these and also used my professional expertise to support staff continuous professional development (CPD) and relevant policy. I liaised regularly with parents, representing their views to the school and prior to my election to this role, was an active member of a school committee where I served as co-treasurer. I also ran a parents’ workshop at the school’s request.

As a member of a Nursery Management Committee, I devised the idea for an on-site library to support busy parents and carers who used the nursery, single-handedly sourcing a variety of resources including books and DVDs on parenting, marriage/relationships and financial management at no cost to the nursery which parents and carers could borrow. I represented parent and carer views at regular meetings with the Nursery Manager and Parent Care Coordinator and contributed to the smooth running of the nursery by troubleshooting problems that arose on a day-to-day basis.

Next Steps...

Would you like to reach your full potential as a leader, achieve your objectives and positively impact your networks and community while benefitting from:

  • Practical, powerful and proven strategies;
  • Improved productivity;
  • Enhanced growth;
  • Overall improvement of your leadership journey?

Recommended Reading:

Leadership 101: What Every Leader Needs to Know (101 Series) by John C. Maxwell.

A succinct summary of the key abilities needed to be a successful and effective leader who leads well and provides a good framework on how to enhance these abilities. A good book to start off your leadership journey.