In 2019, Ros Cardinal of Shaping Change and I sat down to discuss developing a program for women who wanted to “go to that next level” but who might have felt stuck, a bit lost or unsure what to do next.
We talked about our own career journeys – the deliberate and at times accidental paths we had followed, the things that worked and those that didn’t and about what motivated us or things that had proved stumbling blocks.
These conversations were great. Our personalities and experience very much complement that of the other and we have enough war stories between us to make even the most seasoned professional pop an eyebrow.
In addition to reflecting on our experiences we drew on what we knew from coaching and mentoring women who wanted to change their careers, join a board or to have more influence in their current roles. These were all women who wanted a better balance in life, to be louder, more visible, to assert themselves more confidently and to achieve their version of success.
Our program Women of Substance – Emerge was born!
Packed with wisdom across three key areas – Value, Visibility and Connections, Emerge consists of six weeks of self-directed learning with a group coaching call each week. The original format had two full days of a face to face “success summit” at the end. We also provide individual coaching throughout to help women with their individual needs. Knowing that life can be hectic we even built in a one week catch up week in the middle!
Ros and I cap the group at a maximum of 12 of which two places would be reserved for scholarships provided by us. Small group learning works better and allows us to tailor the approach to the interests of the group. We also draw on our vast networks to bring in some incredible Guest Faculty to do interactive sessions with each cohort.
One fantastic feature of Emerge is the extra individual coaching sessions with each of us which is all part of the package (which is less than the cost of a conference back in the days when we did those in person!).
Emerge was launched in early 2020 just as Covid 19 was taking hold of the world. As the first cohort progressed it became increasingly clear that we would not be able to have a face to face success summit. In discussion with the participants we decided that we would deliver four half day sessions online. Back then that seemed like a novelty!
Fast forward to today and the third cohort of Emerge is just about to enter the first of their four success summit sessions. Having seen the huge results achieved by our first cohort – new jobs, renewed passions, realignments of values and importantly and visibly in all participants, giant boosts in confidence – we were determined to continue on despite Covid 19. I’m really glad we did.
Emerge isn’t just another “women’s leadership” program. Sure we cover aspects of leadership but it is so much more because it focuses on each individual woman at the centre of the journey and helps her understand her own values, what drives her and it gives her confidence in articulating and living those values and dreams. Also… did I mention all the extra individual coaching?
Ros and I were pretty sure we knew what was missing in the programs available for women who wanted to explore their next steps and we knew that what we had planned would really help the participants but I don’t think either of us expected to see the levels of transformation that we have.
We now have a fantastic (and growing) alumni consisting of women from all across Australia and even internationally. We have had our first “Meet the Women of Emerge” alumni session and have more events planned for 2021.
I can’t wait to see who is in the 2021 Emerge cohort. If you think it might be you click here for more details about the Emerge program.