To celebrate Women’s History Month and #WomenofKings, we have invited Kyla Jardine (News & Events Manager for Arts & Humanities, Social Science & Public Policy) from our Gender Equality Network, Elevate to reflect on the launch event, the wonderful speakers and what we have to look forward to.
Elevate exists to provide a formal networking platform for professional services staff at King’s. The Network aims to address and challenge issues of gender inequality at King’s, providing an integral platform for staff to share their experiences and by informing KCL policy and strategy.
Elevate’s aim is to empower staff to reach their potential through events, mentoring and training, and to act as a community who provide support both personally and professionally to one another.
Elevate is inclusive to all individuals and specifically addresses the challenges and barriers faced by those who identify as women and as non-binary; staff can join in this capacity, or as an ally.
When we decided to launch on the eve of International Women’s Day, we wanted to host an event that would be both insightful and useful and reflected the diversity of our staff at King’s.
For our panel discussion on, ‘How to Find Your Own Leadership’, we wanted to demonstrate that leadership exists at every level and grade within an organisation, especially one as complex and varied as King’s, and that paths to leadership can be more than achieving an executive or senior role.
It was also important for us to connect with King’s other networks, and our panellist reflected this breadth of experience and interests.
Our speakers were:
- Chenée Psaros, a committee member from Proudly King’s, our LGBTQ+ Staff Network.
- Vasantha Mountford, from the Stellar HE Programme – a strategic executive development programme targeted at BAME individuals who aspire to senior leadership positions in Higher Education.
- Whitney Robinson, the Co-Chair of King’s newly established Race Equality Network
- Emma Fleming, the Co-Chair of the KCL Parent and Carers’ Network
It was a pleasure to have Tessa Harrison, Director of Students & Education officially launch Elevate as our senior sponsor and an advocate for our cause.
She rounded out her speech by displaying and iterating some core leadership attributes: understanding how our own social privilege can create blind spots and knowing that every person has something of value to offer:
I learned something about the importance of recognising my privileges – I recognised with some discomfort that to some I am no different to the very privileged white men who have been the butt of my endless challenges over the years. It’s an uncomfortable truth that each generation becomes unreconstructed in the face of the next generation.
So, my ask of all of you engaging in this new network is to be kind to each other as you start working through the issues and ideas that each of you have.
Over the course of the evening, we explored what leadership means, shared advice for aspiring leaders, and looked at how we can navigate challenges. We also discussed how to access support and opportunities within the College, including the importance of becoming an active member of King’s networks, like Elevate.
Afterwards, we all enjoyed the opportunity to meet and chat over drinks, surrounded by the stunning exhibition ‘Visualising the Margins: Gendered Perspectives’ in The Exchange.
Thank you to everyone who supported the launch and has become a member of the network so far. Don’t forget to tell your colleagues and sign up to our newsletter to keep up to date with our ongoing activities, including our upcoming event on the 4th April. Stay tuned for details.
Kyla Jardine, Elevate Committee Member