As part of International Women’s Day we’ve been thinking about the women who inspire us and in doing so we realised that those we find inspiring come from so many different areas of our lives whether it’s our own female relatives, our boss, the Mum on the school playground or the female business leader on the conference stage they all represent something that perhaps we want to achieve ourselves, aspire to be or who we simply admire -
__But who do our Tech Returners find inspirational? - we spoke to Heather who shared some words about the woman who inspires her most.
I count myself as incredibly lucky to be surrounded by inspiring people, and especially inspiring women. The past few years have seen me making big decisions about my career and I’ve only had the confidence to do that because of the amazing women I’ve worked with who have helped me to realise my strengths, and inspired me to take some risks. A few years ago I applied for a new role and had an unforgettable interview with an unforgettable woman. Anne Casey is an experienced educator and leader who was in the process of setting up a pioneering new college in the North West. I interviewed before it was even open and so in lieu of any students to demonstrate my teaching skills on, I was asked to deliver a lesson to Anne. She was by far the most receptive student I ever taught!
After spending just an hour with her I was blown away with her warmth, her enthusiasm and her vision, and I knew before I left that interview room that I was ready to join her in whatever role she’d have me! Luckily, by the time I’d got back to my car she’d called me to offer me a job. “Darling”, she said, “we couldn’t open this college without you!”
I spent the next few months with Anne, each day feeling that my life was a little brighter for having her in my life. The new job was tough - we were a brand new team, trying to do something totally different in a sector known for its rules and regulations. There were days when I’d cry out of frustration, and Anne was always there with a warm smile, a big hug, and a few words to lift my spirit. The culture she created in the team and the way she made us all feel was so unique, and it’s stuck with me several years after both myself and Anne have moved on to new roles and new organisations.
I think about Anne most weeks and especially when I’m reflecting on my relationships with my colleagues. Am I making everyone feel valued? Am I inspiring others? Do I think first about people, and then about process? If I can make just one person feel the way that Anne made me feel, I’ll know I’m doing something right.