When I embarked on the transformative journey of the Xec. —a 10-month leadership initiative specifically crafted for black and minority ethnic PR Professionals — I was curious to see if traditional leadership norms could really be challenged and if I could explore a fresh, authentic path to leadership myself.
The programme exceeded my expectations. It revealed to me new facets and dimensions of leadership and provided an invaluable opportunity to engage with industry experts and visionary leaders. I appreciated spending time with Ellie Thompson, and having an enlightening conversation on how to make sure you nurture your authenticity whilst in a leadership position. I also had the opportunity to spend time with Tim Chatwin and their team at Google – their energy was truly uplifting. Their stories and wisdom gave me clarity in defining my own leadership style.
Why does being a leader matter to you?
This foundational question was one of the first that captured my attention as I entered this programme. As I started exploring this, I quickly realised that I had two vital drivers that led to my desire to pursue a path in leadership.
- A platform for influence
Having responsibilities in different aspects of my life – being a team member, a parent, a partner, etc. led me to support and uplift people in my world. Being a source of inspiration, motivating individuals to explore their potential, nurturing growth and collaboration, as well as having a lasting impact boosts my desire to create a positive impact on my community. The thought of being a catalyst for change is energising and fulfilling.
- Continuous growth
I reached a moment in time where I was ready to break free from the confines of my comfort zone and wanted to eagerly explore diverse experiences. Embracing the discomfort of unfamiliar situations became something I was determined not to avoid but to confront head-on. My objective was to dive into self-discovery and find wisdom, wholeheartedly embracing each experience as a stepping stone in the journey of personal growth and enriching my perspectives.
With the guidance of incredible mentors and business leaders, I started an introspective journey. A clear realisation emerged: to truly excel as a leader, I needed to revisit my core values. This required an ongoing journey of self-reflection and being honest with myself. It involved confronting my own biases, addressing negative thought patterns, challenging fixed mindsets, and dealing with triggering factors directly. Throughout this process of transformation, I came to appreciate that authenticity was a foundational and relatable aspect of my leadership style.
This self-discovery process reinforced the fact that rather than being discouraged by setbacks, I needed to see them as valuable learning experiences: setbacks are a source of growth and momentum. They allow me to reframe my mindset, focus on the progress made and the lessons learned, and ultimately pushing me forward in my personal and professional evolution. This shift emphasised that success isn’t merely about avoiding failure but about using it to elevate and refine myself.
The self-awareness that the Xec programme gave me has inspired me to redefine how I think about leadership. Today, I see true leadership not as a position of authority, but as a commitment to authenticity, growth, and the constant pursuit of progress. To me, it’s evident that leadership is synonymous with dedication, compassion, and a genuine desire to make a positive impact. Leadership is not just top-down; at every level, you have the potential to create a profound impact, convince, and empower the people around you.