Women into Leadership review — and what to expect in 2022

Mon 17 Jan 2022

Women into Leadership review — and what to expect in 2022

The conference continues to tour the country in 2022. The Cardiff event will be held online on 3 February, followed by a return to in-person events from March onwards!

Many thousands of female civil servants have been empowered to take the reins of their careers, inspired by the experienced motivational speakers of the Women into Leadership conference series.

The 2021 series of the leading Civil Service women's development events ended last November in Manchester, with more than 300 people in attendance.

Women into Leadership has been running for 12 years. It started in London and has become a platform for civil servants to network with peers right across the country, bringing the 'yes, she can' message to Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Liverpool, Birmingham, and Manchester.

As FDA president Vicky Johnson said at Women into Leadership Manchester in November, "we're trying to give everybody the opportunity to hear from our senior leaders within the civil service — some really inspirational speakers".

Key messages

The agenda of Women into Leadership has been designed to invigorate women in the civil service, delivering inspiration and empowerment. Every event in the conference series is special and unique because the empowering message is conveyed through leading voices in the public sector, with their perspectives on what leadership is, and the journey they have taken to become the leader they aspire to be.

For example, Susan Acland-Hood, Permanent Secretary, Department for Education, delivered a keynote address at the event last February, commenting on the mythical beasts that women leaders must slay to move forward.

She described the dragon of direct discrimination who's not dead yet. She talked about the insidious tapeworm of self-doubt and the gorilla of homogenous leadership ideas, which "spawns many tiny gorilla versions of himself through affinity bias and the practice of recruiting in one's image".

Acland-Hood returned to Women into Leadership to deliver the keynote address at the event in Manchester last November. Building on her previous presentation, she discussed how women could gird themselves for their quests as leaders.

Continuing the mythical war metaphor, Acland-Hood talked about choosing the right 'sword' for you and how to keep your best weapon honed and balanced. She raised the question about how to train and exercise and how can you choose your companions for the quest.

Equally inspiring was Sarah Munby, Permanent Secretary for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, speaking at Women into Leadership London in September. Some of the key messages in her keynote address was self-care, taking time to learn what makes you happy.

Munby used the metaphor of putting your oxygen mask on before helping others and the idea of the plant pot to point out the importance of leaving a growing room to learn and develop your career.

Also speaking at the event in London, Bernadette Thompson OBE, former Deputy Director for Inclusion, Wellbeing and Employee Engagement in the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government, talked about not letting adversity get you down and paying it forward when you have success.

Hands-on advice

The beauty of Women into Leadership is that all the insights and lived experiences that senior civil servants share at these events are taken one step further with breakout sessions delivered by executive career and mindset coaches.

The breakout sessions offer hands-on advice on the range of skills necessary to build confidence and break self-imposed barriers. For example, workshops are designed to provide women with interview tips and a better understanding of how to become better managers.

FDA vice-president Margaret Haig said it well in her closing remarks at Women into Leadership London: "These are small things, which together make a powerful set of principles that we can take back to our workplace, to our families, and our friends, and hopefully develop on our leadership journey, whether that be to the very top, staying where you are, sideways move, or somewhere in the middle."

The event continues to tour the country in 2022 — the next stop is Cardiff (online) on 3 February, followed by Birmingham on 17 MarchEdinburgh on 19 May, London on 15 September, and Manchester on 24 NovemberVisit the event website for the latest agenda.

Join us and you will come away reinvigorated, ready to take your career as far as you want it to be.

Sessions you don't want to miss:

  • Leadership Material: how to increase your visibility to position yourself as a leader, with Hira Ali, author, writer, executive career coach, and leadership trainer
  • Yes She Can: embracing adversity to power success, with Uzo Iwobi, specialist policy adviser on Equalities at Welsh Government
  • Rebuilding Relationships: optimising your career & wellbeing, with Chief Impact Officer, Mind Tools for Business

Visit the Women into Leadership website to find out more about the event. View the agenda and book your place today.

Women into Leadership is brought to you in partnership with FDA.Women into Leadership banner

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