Imperial and local partners have launched a pioneering programme to boost confidence, leadership, and ambition among women from its local community.
Empowering women results in strengthened communities. Professor Maggie Dallman Associate Provost (Academic Partnerships)
The first programme of its kind in the UK, it aims to support women to feel confident in taking leadership roles in all areas of their life.
It is designed to address specific barriers that prevent local women from achieving their full potential, equipping them to strengthen and empower both themselves and their local communities.
The six-month pilot, which will begin in July 2018, has been co-designed by local women in order to best fit their needs. It will initially support 12 women between the ages of 18 and 64 from the north of the borough. Six sessions will cover different aspects of leadership and professional development, providing insights into topics such as networking, communication, influencing, motivating a team and bringing about change.
The programme will also lay the foundations for a new women’s leadership network - made up of women who have participated in the programme and those who have supported it – which will provide ongoing support, foster partnerships, and stimulate community innovation within the local area.
Three leading women will become champions for the programme – Imperial’s Professor Maggie Dallman, Associate Provost (Academic Partnerships), Sian Alexander, Chief Executive of the Lyric Hammersmith, and Kim Dero, Chief Executive of Hammersmith and Fulham Council.
Agents for Change was launched on Wednesday 9 May at The Invention Rooms– the College’s ground-breaking community innovation space at White City. At the launch event, which was powered by networking community Hubdot, women at all stages of their lives and careers were encouraged to meet, exchange ideas, and learn from each other.
Professor Maggie Dallman, Associate Provost (Academic Partnerships) said: “When we founded our campus in White City, we did so with a commitment to listen to our community and understand how we can best serve their needs. Agents for Change was borne from these conversations. We know that White City is full of talented, ambitious women, but that they often face barriers to achieving their full potential. We also know that empowering women results in strengthened communities. This programme will equip women to become catalysts for change, with benefits not only to themselves but to everyone around them.”
Melanie Nock, Head of Community Partnerships from Hammersmith United Charities said: “The idea for Agents for Change grew from a discussion on International Women’s Day 2017, and we cannot think of a better way of marking our 400th anniversary than by seeing the launch of a pioneering programme like this. The experience of working closely with key local partners to ensure new opportunities for local women has been stimulating and exciting and we look forward to the first pilot course.”
Sian Alexander, Chief Executive of the Lyric Hammersmith, said: “I’m delighted to champion the new Agents for Change programme. It’s so important for those of us who are now in leadership positions to make sure that we ‘send the lift back down’ and help to break down barriers for the next generation of women leaders. This programme, like so much of our work at the Lyric, is all about ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to build their skills, confidence and networks and to fulfil their potential.”
Councillor Sue Fennimore, Deputy Leader of Hammersmith & Fulham Council, said: "We want to give all women and girls in H&F the best possible opportunity to pursue their dreams, and the Agents for Change programme aims to help break down some of the barriers that have traditionally stood in their way.
"We do all we can to encourage the promotion of women into leadership roles within this borough, and I'm delighted that Hammersmith & Fulham is again doing pioneering work towards the goal of true equality."
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