La Toyah McAllister-Jones blogs about her experience of the benefits of a Clore Social Fellowship
I had the pleasure of speaking at a Clore Social Programme information Day in March this year. My immediate reaction was “Really? ME?? I hate public speaking. What would I even say??”
And then I stopped listening to my internal critic and started to reflect on my experience as a full time Clore Social Fellow and what I could share to encourage others to apply for the Fellowship. So here are some key reflections on why I applied, the impact it has had on me and why I encourage you to take the plunge.
Why I applied
I strongly believe that many things in life are about timing. When I applied for the Programme, I had recently moved back to London and had taken on a 12 month contract. I had spent many years in the homelessness sector and was at a point in my career where the question “what next?” was becoming more and more urgent.
Just around this time I trained as an action learning facilitator. I met Ruth Cook from Action Learning Associates and she suggested that I take look at the Fellowship. I went home the same evening and did a bit of research – it was just what I was looking for. Leadership development is scarce in the homelessness sector so this was an opportunity to explore “what next?”, as well as build on the experience and skills I already had.
I completed the programme officially in December 2013 having undertaken it full time, and went back into employment in January 2014. I am still processing the impact of the Fellowship on me, both personally and professionally, but here is what has been the most immediate:
- I have a renewed commitment to social justice.
- I’ve learned that social leadership is about impact. What’s your impact on others? What’s the impact of what you’re doing?
- Coaching has given me invaluable insight and awareness, and reflective practice has become an obsession!
- I have expanded my professional networks in a way that was not available to me before
- The overall experience helped me to connect with the values that drive me. This has given me confidence in living those values, and in leading social change.
It is not a magic wand. When you return to the ‘real world’ there will still be challenges, you will still have crisis of confidence, things will go wrong. The difference for me is that I’m more comfortable with this and my own ability to move through these moments and learn from them.
So, why should you apply?
The Clore Social Leadership Programme is a commitment – there’s no doubt about that. You will be challenged and stretched in ways you never imagined at the start. But if you are considering applying for a Fellowship I would encourage you to do it. Why?
Because the programme will support you to lead impact for the people that matter.
Because the opportunity for real personal and professional development is rare.
Because the experience can act as a catalyst for change on many levels.
Because it will broaden your horizons.
Because good leadership in the social sector is needed now more than ever.
Find out more about how to apply at www.cloresocialleadership.org.uk/how-to-apply
La Toyah McAllister-Jones is a 2013 Clore Social Fellow, and is currently the personalisation development project manager at St Mungos Broadway, and an Associate at Collaborate.