Harriet Brickhill received at $1000 Central Queensland University - FFN Bursary to attend the Leading Edge program via Women & Leadership Australia. Here's her story.

I completed a virtual four month development program called ‘Leading Edge’ run by Women & Leadership Australia, targeted at early career leaders and managers.

For a world that is pretty zoom fatigued right now, the ‘virtualness’ of the course was actually pretty easy to cope with. Each fortnight the course covered off on a different module that you completed in your own time, followed by a lunchtime meeting to discuss the learnings. Topics were wide ranging, from learning about emotional intelligence to conflict and change management or presenting with impact. I was surprised at how engaging some of the conversations that were had, often via a blog post that everyone could post and respond with their own threads.

You also had to complete a workplace project to give you the opportunity to apply the learnings from the course in a practical manner. I was lucky in that my project was directly related to a current issue within my workforce (updating and renewing our Steering Committee’s terms of reference). It provided an opportunity to think strategically, engage with a wide range of industry stakeholders and gave me the opportunity to practice driving change. It helped me to recognise the subtleties that occur within the political landscape and an appreciation of having a vision to improve the workplace.

I had quite a number of ‘Ohh’ moments that occurred throughout the course. The sort of moments were you go ‘ohhh, that’s how others think’ or ‘ohhh, that is why some people operate like that’. This meant that the course gave me a jump on helping to better understand myself and others.

But in reflection, the biggest learning I have taken from the course is learning to be comfortable with difficult conversations. As a generalisation, this is something that women often struggle with. We learnt a few tips and tools about how to frame these conversations or how to rationalise our responses to different situations in the workplace.

But for me, the best part of the course was the peer coaching sessions. I was paired with a paramedic and a Police Sargent. While we were given a task to work through for each session, it really just gave you an opportunity to idea bounce, get a new perspective, vent and encourage each other in both work and life challenges! We have now become firm friends that have continued to catch up. It was excellent to get to know and meet two different ladies from completely different walks in life.

I’d like to thank FFN and CQU for the opportunity to complete this course.

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