I was going say that my Future Leaders journey has been a rollercoaster, but I don’t like rollercoasters.
I loved Future Leaders.
If I say it has been challenging that might sound negative, but it’s not meant that way.
The key people I met through Future Leaders offered critical challenge as part of the process and that really got me thinking about my future, my skills and frankly my confidence.
It also reinforced my beliefs about leading with authenticity, honesty and integrity. It taught me new skills as well as helping me to network and meet people I knew I wanted to experience working for.
So I left a 16 year permanent position in a local authority for a temporary maternity cover contract with Derbyshire County Council which was one of the best (if not scary) life decisions I ever made. The team were fantastic, supportive and really helped me cement learning from the Future Leaders programme.
Future Leaders also introduced me to the Government Communications Service (GCS) and I knew I really wanted to experience working in a Government department.
I’ve been lucky enough to get another temporary maternity cover contract as Team Leader for the Digital Communications Team in the Department for Education (DfE). This has been a brilliant opportunity to lead a team, develop strategy and experience the differences between local and central government.
These are steps I wouldn’t have taken without the support and challenge of my mentor, the Future Leaders program and those who gave up their time to support, educate and invest in those of us lucky enough to be selected for the experience.
Niel Stewart is interim Team Leader for the Digital Communications Team at the Department for Education (DfE). Interested in Future Leaders? Apply to the 2022 cohort!