I had the privilege of being involved in the Diversity Abroad Global Inclusive Leadership Certificate, which took place virtually over 9 weeks in late October-December 2020. The programme encompassed 4-6 hours of weekly module completion as well as three online live events which were recorded.
Initially I did not know what to expect from the programme, besides what I had read in the programme description. The initial application process was not too difficult and the 360 International Staff at University, were very helpful. The programme consisted of 9 weeks’ worth of modules including video submissions, readings, assigned video’s to watch and a final community project. Everything was conducted online so the flexibility of the programme helped while I finished off university exams.
The three live sessions took place on zoom with the other programme participants; there were around 10-15 of us around the world. The first module focussed on leadership and identity which helped to ease into the deeper content that we learnt. My favourite module was module 6 which focused on inclusive leadership: unlocking the value of diversity and inclusion. This was because we learnt about what inclusive leadership was, what 4 key areas inclusive leaders excel in, and reflected on empathy and leadership. Empathy was one of my key takeaways from this programme; I was able to further develop and understand my own level of empathy as a leader, and work towards being a more empathetic inclusive leader in different environments. I believe this is crucial for leaders to develop.
Another key takeaway was from module 5: examining local, global and intercultural issues. This was interesting and eye opening as we learnt about ‘critical race theory’ and unpacked what ‘privilege’ is. As someone who is engaging in being an inclusive leader, this was very important.
A challenge during the programme was the virtual format of the programme given Covid-19 and University teaching turning to online format also. This made looking at the computer screen more difficult as I would already be spending 5-10 hours a day studying online, thus can get mentally tiring. Some advice I would give to students thinking about virtual programmes is to think about your why; why are you wanting to give it a go? what do you hope to achieve? how will you keep connections throughout the programme? and, what can you do to implement what you learnt back into your everyday life and life vision? Make the most of every opportunity.
I am very thankful that I was given this opportunity and it has definitely helped to further develop my inclusive leadership skills.