From day one of being part the fantastic family that is the Marketing Academy, the definitions of leadership that we are all aiming to aspire to are:
- A leader leaves their mark of outstanding leadership not just by their own leadership but by how many leaders they develop along the way
- A leader is someone whose actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more
Therefore, as scholars of the Marketing Academy, we have all been given this great gift. A gift of knowledge, sharing of wisdom and a network of people from all areas of life to offer us all help and advice for free as they themselves demonstrate true leadership in trying to develop others. This network ranges from influential CEOs of multinational corporates to passionate founders of small non-for-profit organisations, allowing us all to truly get a great understanding of so many facets and challenges of life – business and personal. These insights are from not only a marketing perspective, but from a leadership one too, meaning we are increasingly becoming equipped with a toolbox to solve anything we are faced with.
Having this gift and staying true to what a good leader is, I felt compelled to share this with as many people as possible to make them think differently, take a step back from their everyday ‘doing’ and ask some key questions about themselves and how they can be who they want to be.
Juggling a full time, demanding job, embracing everything the Marketing Academy has to offer and general everyday life, is definitely a challenge, but all the mentors in the academy can do all of this and still give their time for others, which made me realise I can too! I think it was more an issue of confidence (or lack of) in my new found gift than anything else! This lead me to go out and start speaking to a number of people to share my experiences and learnings with them. The response has been fantastic and I urge anyone else with something to offer to do the same.
The people and organisations I have or will be working with in the coming weeks up until Christmas are:
- Education: I am a mentor to a second year student, Philip, at Aston University, and a Masters student, Jana, mentoring them on their current career aspirations as they plan their future either for a placement year or full time role.
- Non-for-Profit Organisations: I am a hosting an open discussion on leadership at the end of a 3-day emerging leaders course by a non-for-profit organisation – Common Purpose. Here I will be one of five people who have experience in leadership roles and I will be able to share my insights especially from the Marketing Academy on what it means to be a good leader and will build on what they have learnt in their course.
- Professional bodies: I teamed up with members of the CIM in Birmingham through Aston University and held a talk to MSc students on what life is like in marketing and the professional world, the personal challenges I have faced and any advice for them going into the very competitive career market upon graduation. The feedback was great and have been asked back to do further talks.
- Corporate: I am taking some of the learning from the academy and sharing it with my internal teams, extended teams (agencies) and new graduates into the business (Jaguar Land Rover recruited more than 300 graduates this year), whether this be over a 1:1 coffee with a new starter or my whole team on inspiring them for the year ahead or what the latest trend in Social media is
- Charity: I am just about to start working with the ‘Little Princess Trust’, which provides wigs for young children who have lost their hair through cancer. This is a great charity that brings a level of normality to the lives of sick children, and the founder carries so much enthusiasm, it is infectious! I feel privileged to work with this charity, offering marketing advice to increase awareness and donations. So… a shameless plug to get the ball rolling, anyone who is reading this and thinks this is a worthy cause, please donate what you can via their website (http://www.littleprincesses.org.uk/) as it will make a huge difference.
I did all of the above, not as a tick box exercise or because we were told to, but because I wanted to. I think it also goes without saying that my fellow scholars also embrace this mindset and are committed to the journey of being the best we can, not only as a leader, but marketer, friend, parent, partner, sibling or whatever facet of life we operate in. By sharing this information and in a way teaching what I have learnt, reinforces it within myself, meaning that as time goes on, my leadership and personal brand gets greater clarity.
Its not hard to see why the founder of the Marketing Academy, Sherilyn, picked up the award last week for the ‘CIM Women In Marketing Special Contribution Award’, as she has founded something that has and continues to develop future leaders, who in turn develop future leaders around them. The impact this is having on UK plc is tremendous with my only negative view being that I will only be a scholar for another 6 months!
The Marketing Academy: Not even at the end of its second year already consists of a dedicated founding team, 86 Mentors, 30 scholars, 30 Coaches, 28 Alumni, 20 Judges, 36 Companies, 30 Charities, 2 Apprentices, 12 months of learning and an owl (Merlin). As we all go on to share what we have learnt and develop leaders around us, means the Marketing Academy has already created 100’s of aspiring leaders of the future. With a few more years under its belt, just think what the impact could be….