I think I know what you may be thinking….when I saw the advertisement for the Ready Now programme last year, I did not think of applying for it initially. Excuses that came in my head were: ‘I am too busy to make the application’; ‘I do not want to be doing a leadership course just for BME people’, ‘I have done previous courses, I know a lot about leadership.’
I was mistaken and could have missed out this wonderful learning experience. First of all, let me rectify the misconceptions. Even though Ready Now targets BME leaders, this programme is actually about inclusive leadership. You will learn about yourself and how your behaviour impacts other people. You will be challenged on how you think, feel and act as an inclusive leader. The course also helps with your confidence and ability to connect with others in a meaningful deep way even they may be different from you.
As a result of the programme, it helped me crystallise my career aspirations with renewed energy and confidence. I was considering the scale and level of change I wished to be involved in order to make a difference to people’s lives. As a result of the MP for Bradford West, Naz Shah’s conversation with us on the Ready Now programme, it reignited the political ambitions within me. Since then, I have started my learning journey in politics by joining a political party and engaged with the conversations with the goal of being a politician in 5 years’ time.
Before Ready Now, I was slightly apprehensive about talking to people who are very senior or have different world views from me. I had to present a paper at the Health and Wellbeing Board in June this year and was able to influence senior clinicians and Chief Executives of NHS Trusts to work with me. I am now able to have difficult conversations with colleagues.
I believe the glass ceiling for BME workforce highlighted in the ‘The Snowy White Peaks’ report has been an issue for me. What I learned from Ready Now is also the importance of challenging our own glass ceiling. Belief in me and what I stand for is vital and Ready Now makes me realise these values and articulate them too. I wished that Ready Now was available earlier in my career.
For me, Ready Now is a kick start to help me be an inclusive leader and in my quest to make a difference to people’s health and wellbeing. I have developed friendships with course mates who will be my peer support. I have a coach whom I meet at regular intervals and will continue to look at learning opportunities to better myself.
I would encourage you to seize this precious opportunity. It will change you!