This year Alliance Manchester Business School supported Radical Thinking for Radical Times, a series of discussions with remarkable women hosted by Queen Bee Coaching. The webinars were organised to fundraise for the Pankhurst Trust, and raised over £3000 to fund PPE needed for them to continue their work throughout the ongoing pandemic.
Queen Bee Coaching is a free leadership coaching service for women across greater Manchester. Their cohort of over 60 experienced volunteers provide this coaching to other women who want to progress or lead change in their community, charity or corporation, but may face barriers to their leadership potential due to factors such as such as racism or socio-economic disadvantages. The Radical Thinking for Radical Times series highlighted some of those factors, and explored how the women featured had overcome them.
The second series ran from September to October in partnership with the Women's Sport Trust, a national charity with the aim of raising the visibility and increasing the impact of women’s sport. They featured female athletes at the top of their respective sport fields, who discussed the struggles and triumphs they have faced in their lives and careers.
Episode one ‘The Changemakers’ featured swimmer Alice Dearing, who launched the Black Swimming Association, Stacey Copeland, footballer turned professional boxer and Stef Reid, track and field Paralympian. These women each recognised an issue within their field that needed to be addressed, and worked to become the person to create that change. For instance, Stacey explained how she realised that she needed to “unlearn” the ideas she had been directly and indirectly taught that women were “rubbish at sport and inferior”, and worked to discover a “new truth” about women in sport. These athletes expressed the sense of responsibility that they feel they have upon coming to these realisations to share them with other young women, and the steps they have taken to do so.
Triple jumper Naomi Ogbeta, hockey player Emily Defroand and netball player Sasha Corbin joined us for episode two, which was focused on the importance of remaining true to yourself in the face of preconceptions and stereotypes. Emily discussed the barriers she faced due to the presumptions made about her as an ‘Essex girl’, whilst Naomi explained how she pursued her passion in media despite being told repeatedly that it would be a hindrance to her sports career. These women had all had to overcome being told that they should act in a certain way in order to progress their careers in the way that they wanted.
The final episode of this series hosted basketball player Siobhan Prior and runner Marilyn Okoro, who spoke about resilience. Siobhan spoke about how the main challenges in her life so far have led to her being more resilient, from the change of culture when she moved to America for a few years at the start of her career to her mother passing away earlier this year. She explained how expressing emotions and feelings during challenging times is often seen as weak, but that doing so is what can help you move through these hard times and “use them to our advantage”. Similarly, Marilyn spoke about the difference between feeling the need to “stay positive” and “finding a positive” in each situation – not necessarily feeling happy all of the time, but pushing through difficult times and learning from the experience.
All of the episodes from this series and the previous one are available to view on the Queen Bee Coaching YouTube channel.
Queen Bee Coaching is always looking for more women from across Greater Manchester who are involved in leading social enterprises, community groups and other small organisations who would benefit from leadership coaching support and who do not currently have access to it. If you are one of these women, or know one of these women, please get in touch with Queen Bee Coaching.