Future Leaders? That sounds great but how do I add something else to my already long list of things to do? Work, family, friends, life – not necessarily in that order! As a working mum, the juggle is real.
Let me set the scene for you: 18 months ago, I had secured a promotion, our head of comms had left and so while learning a brand new role (managing a team of my own which I’d never done before!) and stepping up to support our also brand new assistant director of comms. It was wildly challenging, crazy, chaotic and (whispers) I loved it. All this alongside raising my two young boys (aged 2 and 4 at the time!). And then my world came tumbling down when my mum was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. The next four months were a complete blur – hospital trips, spending time with my mum, home schooling my 4 year old when schools closed AGAIN, work, work, work. After my mum passed away I took time out from the office. It was unexpected and sudden and I needed to get my head around everything that had happened. The time away gave me a new perspective – work isn’t everything but it sure helps to keep the mind busy.
Fast forward six months and I spotted an advert for the LGcomms Future Leaders programme. The previous 12 months had been gruelling, personally and professionally. I had lost a lot of my confidence. Future Leaders offered an opportunity to rebuild that confidence and allow me to better support my team.
I knew that it would be a juggle. But actually, what I’ve gained from Future Leaders has far outstripped any sacrifice to make it happen.
Slowly but surely, surrounded and supported by the current cohort of Future Leaders, my confidence is returning and I can honestly say, this is one of the best professional decisions I have made – for me, for my team and for my organisation.
What you need to know:
The programme is run by (brilliant) local government comms people, just like you, who volunteer their time for us. They are juggling work, life, family, responsibilities too – they understand!
The sessions are really valuable. I’ve attended four in person sessions so far and two virtual sessions and I have learnt something of value at each of them. From a brand masterclass (see blog here) to how to work with a new administration and the positives and pitfalls of working in a political environment (blog post here) – I have always returned to the office reinvigorated, inspired and buzzing with ideas!
The most time consuming part of the programme was the academic part. BUT this was also one of the most valuable. After weeks of worrying about the assignment, it didn’t take long and was focussed on being a personal piece that will support our next steps as leaders.
Most importantly, it has restored my confidence. I feel supported by a wonderful group of colleagues who are now friends for life (sorry folks, you’ll never be rid of me!!). My team are already benefiting from my experiences on the programme and that is one of the most important things for me.
A final aside, if you’re still not sure about the time commitment, have those conversations. With your support network, with previous (or current) Future Leaders and your manager.
Emily Taylor is the Digital Communications and Campaigns Manager at Telford & Wrekin Council and part of the 2022 Future Leaders cohort.
Our Future Leaders programme run every year, and you can now apply for the 2023 Future Leaders cohort!