Loughborough University’s Sprint Women’s Development Programme
For 4 days during December, I attended Loughborough University’s first Sprint Women’s Development Programme. I participated in various activities and presentations, met brilliant women from my campus, and learnt more about myself than I thought I would (or could) in 4 days!
Though the name suggests otherwise, the Sprint Women’s Development Programme has nothing to do with running, but everything to do with taking your time. Or, in other words, doing things at your own pace, and improving your personal, academic, and professional lifestyle because of it. The Sprint Development Programme will once again open its doors to young women of potential in February and March 2020, and I urge any woman of ambition with a sky high to-do list to apply.
Designed by the Springboard Consultancy, who specialise in organisational and personnel development, the Sprint Programme offers a unique opportunity for personal, academic, and professional development. We all remember being told at young age that we can ‘be whatever we want to be’, but not many of us remember being told how to navigate the realities, hurdles, and missed opportunities of life. Jenny Daisley OBE, former joint-CEO of SBC, said that at Springboard, “We believe that everyone is ‘born to shine’ but that life circumstances, including a lack of skills and opportunities often prevent that happening.” The Programme “uses training to enable everyone, especially women, to develop themselves further, benefiting the person, their employer, family, and community.”
The Sprint Programme offers a 4-day course to expand, enhance, and tap into a range of skills for women of all levels, backgrounds, and aspirations. From designing realistic goals to identifying broader strategies for managing a work, life, and play balance, the Sprint Programme offers everybody to pick and choose what aspect of their life-long development to work on. I found the Programme eye opening. The Sprint Programme was excellent at highlighting the importance of progress over perfection and got to the details on what progress and success looks like for different people. In a social media saturated age where ‘success’ often poses behind good lighting and a filter, it was beneficial for me to reassess what my definitions of success were. Importantly, I think the Sprint Programme was able to do this because it offered a mental refuge from the busybody world of deadlines, perfect efficiency, and right answers. Without this space, progress may have only been skin deep.
I completed activities to discover what values drive my behaviour, which skills I most identify with, and how that feeds into what my personal brand could be. One of the most enjoyable and interesting parts of the Sprint Programme was learning how to develop the assertiveness to make it all a reality. It was not a cut and dry process. On the first day, everyone was given a generous A4 folder of activities, information, and resources for use both during and after the Programme. During the Programme, I could see why: during every activity, each participant in the room was invited to delve into their own academic, personal, and professional life in ways they might not have considered before. It was not only illuminating to dive into our own goals, perceptions, strategies, and lifestyle choices, but to also understand the perceptions and strategies of others. Fiona, an MSc student in the Institute for Sport Business said “The Sprint Programme was a great way to exchange thoughts, feelings, and aspirations with other young women. It was especially interesting to see that even though we come from different backgrounds, we share similar thoughts and experiences. This was very comforting and helped me feel confident about myself and my career path.”
By the end of the Programme, there was a sense of optimism about the rest of our degrees, our career journeys, and the perspectives we carry into our personal lives. By teaching us how to set goals, action points, and identify opportunities according to our own values and at our own pace, the Programme changed not only how we saw ourselves as students, but as versions of ourselves in our futures. Sprint-ing, it seems, is all about taking your time.
If you would like to find out more about our Loughborough Enterprise Network events and activities in London, please visit their website.
Loughborough University London would like to thank Selsabil for her insightful blog about the programme.