Initially a graduate of our Open Programme, Sandy wanted to continue her She Leads Change journey – she joined our Core Team and now facilitates our Peer Coaching Circle and Holding Family and Friends Circle. Here she shares a little more about her experience of She Leads Change…

If you’ve any questions about She Leads Change and our upcoming virtual programmes, we are offering taster sessions during the month of July. You can find details here.

Sandy Glanfield, Innovations Manager Empathy Action

Can you tell us a little bit more about who you are?

I’ve always loved Jameel Jamil’s interviews when she asks her guest the question: “What do you weigh?” Can I answer that instead? I weigh… 

  • 3 wonderful children and my role in helping them find their hearts and legs to pursue their hopes and dreams in this big, noisy world 
  • 1 cycling mad husband who has huge entrepreneurial dreams
  • 1 little black dog that thinks he is our great protector
  • Family scattered between Australia and the US
  • Friends near and far who share my highs and lows and laughs
  • 1 charity (Empathy Action),  its volunteers and its endeavours to constantly find new and exciting ways to use empathy to inspire others to take action to make this a kinder, better world
  • 8+ charity partners who struggle – because of poverty or the effects of war – and live in different countries around the world, that I work alongside to develop handicrafts from local resources to help share their stories and establish an income.  (I feel lucky to have met many of them and call them friends )
  • 1 weekly ‘Craft and Conversation’ group for refugee women – its unconditional welcome, support, love and laughter (oh, and delicious homemade cakes)
  • My roles at She Leads Change that I hold with other wonderful women – (I don’t think that technically counts as a weight!)

Why She Leads Change?

I was an occupational therapist working in mental health for many years, but since working in the charity sector my work hasn’t taken a conventional path at all.

I was really looking for a mentor at the time, someone to help me make sense of the path that I was taking and the work that I was creating.

The Director of my charity knew Sula Bruce (a SLC facilitator and coach) and suggested I get in contact…I felt incredibly welcomed into the Autumn 2019 Open Programme – I wasn’t entirely sure what I was hoping the course would provide – I just leapt in, hoping it would help start a journey of enquiry and build new connections.

What is the change you are working on?

I’m working on developing methods and opportunities to use empathy as a tool to inspire people to take action to help others in need. For me this usually takes form in storytelling, craft and creating connections with groups in need.

What impacted you most about your She Leads Change journey?

I’d have to say the unconditional welcome and regard. I love knowing that whenever I enter a She Leads Change space, I will be received with unconditional respect, warmth, interest, friendship, encouragement and support. I’m so grateful for the gift of such wonderful women in my life. 

What is emerging for you as a leader?

A word that often arose for me during the Open Programme was ‘gentle.’ I’d begun to notice the work of gentle, inclusive female leaders, whose work is bold and persistent, whilst kind – recognising the humans in each story. When choosing my coach from the Open Programme I was drawn to Leigh Meinhert who I feel embodies and encourages these qualities, and really helped me on my journey.

Tell us a little bit more about the Peer Coaching Circle and how you came to be involved?

I knew that I wanted to continue my journey with SLC after the Open Programme but wasn’t sure what form it would take when I offered to join the Core Team.

I volunteered to facilitate a Peer Coaching Circle earlier this year and loved the buzz of the connections created by women wanting to reach out and support each other.

The willingness of participants to both deeply listen and speak openly creates heartening connections where people step forward to empathise, ask clarifying questions and offer reassurance, guidance and inspiration. I seem to have taken it on from there and have loved creating and holding this space, acting as an intermediary in these beautiful conversations. 

I’m so pleased that Sula has joined me to facilitate these sessions we hold every 2nd Tuesday of the month. I’m loving the energy that comes from working with her: generating new ideas, learning new coaching techniques from her and applying them to each month’s circles to best explore the topics. We’d both love others to join in and share their skills and ideas. 

Meet Sandy at our next Peer Coaching Circle – or on one of our Holding Family Calls. All welcome!