It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are

Written by: Justine Duncan, Events and Communications Manager, the ALLIANCE

Courageous leaders are everywhere, in every walk of life and sometimes, just sometimes when they come together they create something special

At some events, there’s a touch of magic. You can’t put your finger on what makes it special, but the speakers come together, and it fits, it flows, it’s perfect.

We left the office, glancing at the media coverage of the new Millicent Fawcett statue in Parliament Square. “Courage Calls to Courage Everywhere” read the banner in the statue’s hands. A good omen as we made our way to the venue.

There were many ingredients that made our ‘Unleashing Courageous Leadership at Every Age: Women in leadership, 100 years on’ event special. For me, the courage of each presenter to speak from the heart and share their experiences was that touch of magic. They talked about kindness, about failing, and about strength it takes to learn from our mistakes.

We hadn’t planned it to have an all-female line up, but as we shared a list of potential contributors round colleagues and partners most of the people we had identified as courageous leaders were female.

Annie Gunner Logan from CCPS (Coalition of Care and support Providers in Scotland) expertly chaired the event, that was the 2nd in a partnership series exploring Courageous Leadership with the Health and Social Care Academy and SSSC (Scottish Social Service Council).

The performance poet Caren Gilbert opened and closed proceedings defining courage.  Read her poetry round up of the event ‘The Promise

Selina Hayes, defined courageous leadership as “believing so much in what you do that it doesn’t feel like you need courage” and this came through strongly when she talked passionately about setting up the wonderfully named Refuweegee.

Mary Glasgow from Children 1st talked about being courageous at work, striving for the best, learning from mistakes and how “honesty and vulnerability make courageous leaders”.

Claire D’All, who writes the amazing blog A Journey in my Wheels, spoke about her persistence and drive to provide the best future she can for herself and for others who live with a disability.

Penny Halliday, shared her own personal journey and leadership insights from inspirational women in her life including that her mum who inspired her to “have faith in yourself and never give up”.

And the evening finished with a passionate talk from the inspiring Amanda Kopel. Amanda has tirelessly campaigned for free personal care for people under the age of 65. Now embedded in policy (but not implemented till 2019) Amanda said “Frank’s law was needed yesterday today and will be needed tomorrow.”  Powerful words indeed, and Amanda shared a song by Pink (this link will take you away from our website) that sums up her journey.

One of our speakers emailed after the event and said that she “felt very honoured to be speaking alongside such amazing courageous woman who are leading the way and making a real difference to their communities.  It was a great night and I felt the love that only the fellowship of women can offer thank you for inviting me to take part in such an innovative event.”

After the event, I spoke to a delegate who told me it was “the best event she had ever attended”. High praise indeed and I agree.  What an inspiring event to be part of.