Meet our Community – Dr Eleanor Andressen

In addition to our flagship Open Programme, our Leading Collective Impact Programme runs over four months and supports collective action around a specific challenge. Meet Eleanor, Senior Researcher and UK Efficacy Lead at Pearson UK, one of our recent Collective Impact Graduates. She shares her experience with us…

If you’ve any questions about She Leads Change and our upcoming virtual programmes, we are offering taster sessions during the month of June.

You can find details here.

Dr Eleanor M Andressen, Senior Researcher and UK Efficacy Lead, Pearson

“Well I’m exhausted!  On Saturday afternoon I finished the 5-month She Leads Change Collective Impact Programme. 

When we started back in January, we met face to face for two days. I found it dreadful at first!  No thanks, I did not want to dance how I was feeling or pick up an object and describe it in some sort of insane terms – who on earth were these people?!  At the end of day one I sat on the bus to go home and just wanted to cry.  There was no way I could carry this on.  I texted as much to a friend and he just said ‘well, you’re signed up to it now so just lean in and learn from it’.  Ugh, I thought.  What do you know?  Turns out quite a lot.

Suddenly we were in Covid-19 territory and everything moved on screen.  How on earth would this work?  We didn’t really know each other that well and some of the exercises were perhaps just more natural in person.  But as the facilitators got to grips with Zoom and Google sheets with post-it notes we relaxed into the setting and got on with the course. 

The online setting is not an easy place to share some things, and the days were far too long in front of the screen for the eyes and body – but equally they went by quickly, such was the level of engagement.  (Still, the talk to the end was always ‘when this is over, where and when are we meeting up?’ For a swim in Hampstead Ponds is one of the first plans!)

We co-created a lot of the content ourselves from different tools and ideas the participants brought to the setting.  The intention was, and is, that we will continue to support each other to be the change we want to see in our organisations and society.  I came away with:

·         Practical and thoughtful ways to challenge my perspectives and reframe problems and ideas (I find action learning, journalling and deep listening incredibly helpful);

·         A fantastic network of friends and contacts to continue my learning journey, not only from this course but alumni from many of the She Leads Change programmes, several of whom are colleagues at Pearson, and

·         Greater clarity of my own values and future ambitions – and an excellent coach who continues to support me in this

If you are looking for a comfortable way to be fed a few new leadership ideas, this course probably isn’t for you (!).  If you are looking for a safe place to really explore your values, beliefs and perspectives and to help you realise how to use those to be the leader you know you can be, then I encourage you to sign up.  That discomfort I felt was an important part of the experience and I’m grateful that I took the advice and leaned in.”

Learn more about our Leading Collective Impact Programme.

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