Future Leaders Programme: 'It gave me a toolbox of skills and responses I can draw on'
Rosie Spiegelhalter is Head of Philanthropy for St Mungo's and in 2017 took part in the Future Leaders Programme. In this Q&A she explains how she found the programme and what she thinks others should know about it before they take it on.
1. What did you find most valuable about the Future Leaders Programme?
I found the focus on people to be incredibly valuable. There is so much corporate talk about leadership that is about companies and strategy and competition but it was great to think of it largely in terms of listening and responding to people. The whole thing gave me a genuine toolbox of skills and responses to situations that I can draw on.
2. Has your career path changed since completing the Future Leaders Programme?
I stepped up to a team leadership role during my time on the course. It was a tricky transition and very reassuring to have a group of people experiencing similar situations and able to talk honestly about them. I have now been in this position over a year and still refer back to my learning from the course in successfully building and maintaining a strong team.
3. How have you applied your learning?
My learning has been vital in supporting my team through considerable organisational change, creating flexible structures and inducting new team members. I have found the coaching elements particularly helpful and have found applying a coaching mentality to be a more supportive way to develop ideas and step away from having a purely instructional role.
4. What benefit has your Future Leaders Programme expertise had on your organisation’s initiatives and outcomes?
I don’t know about the whole organisation but I do think that having some areas where good management is being applied does have a ripple effect. Other senior management team members have commented on how well my team collaborates and I have been asked to mentor other staff members that are stepping up into line management positions.
5. What project are you most proud of following the programme?
Honestly the thing I’m most proud of has been recruiting really good people and seeing them become proper leaders themselves. I’m probably proudest of being able to offer a development position to a long term volunteer and see her able to take proper ownership of projects, and she has now managed to get another coordinator role in the organisation.
6. Do you keep in touch with the network of fellow Future Leaders Programme participants? If so, how is this valuable?
We have stayed in touch over email, particularly letting each other know of how our careers have progressed. Fundraising is a small world so I’m sure we’ll cross paths a lot!
7. What surprised you about the course?
I found it an interesting decision not to have the course led by someone with a fundraising background themselves – Mark, the course leader, has a very mixed background and his knowledge of coaching and supporting staff is excellent. The application to fundraising comes out naturally through the other participants and it was great to emphasise that leadership was a skill in itself and not just reliant on knowledge of the specialist area.
8. Were there any barriers to you booking the course that you had to overcome?
I was lucky enough to have a very supportive organisation that made it very easy.
Are you keen to develop your fundraising leadership skills? Do you have the desire to become a Director of Fundraising in the next 24 months? If the answer is ‘yes’ the Institute of Fundraising’s Future Leaders Programme will help you take your career to the next level.