In the last six weeks alone Shine for Women has run 6 programmes; two in the United States and two in the UK, one in Bali, one in New York and then next week they’ll be meeting more women in Australia! The women span across a number of different sectors, the media industry, the largest advertising business in the world – WPP – working horizontally across the business with 40 and then 60 women, Group M’s ‘Walk the Talk’ APAC Programme and next week, WPP Australia. Caroline Whaley discusses the impact of these shiny women.

In total we have seen just under 500 women of around 35 different nationalities in the last six weeks across many different industries. Then next week we are in Australia to meet with even more!

These are organisations that are truly serious about making a difference to their Gender Pay Gap. They have been looking at how they can make systematic changes and now they are addressing the women and asking them what they need in order to progress. It’s not just a box ticking exercise – this is about creating huge impact.

If each of those 250 women goes off into the world and shows what they have learned to 3 other women that’s 1000 women in the world that are playing their bigger game. A big shiny army invading the world of work – and if you look back at some of the emails that we get back and the changes that are happening in their lives after they leave it’s astonishing how quickly those ripples spread; Impact across generations and across nations.

Felicity Ive, Deputy Agency Principal at Channel 4 said: “Shine has given me a new clarity on the elements of my personal and professional life that are most important. Important in terms of achieving my ambitions but also aligning with my values to ensure I’m fulfilled. I’ve weeded out a lot of shit in the two months since my Shine experience, focused on what is important to me, asked for it and then reached for it with an invigorated boldness!”

Bracken Jelier, Founder of Brazen Guide, attended the Shine at Lyme course and said: “Shine hasn’t just had an impact on me professionally but also personally. However, what I didn’t realise was how far reaching that would be; I’ve been far more conscious of teaching my daughters to be ‘more human’ and to ‘be themselves’ in all aspects of their lives and my Mum was so inspired with my ‘don’t take shit – and be more myself’ attitude, that she went out and actually fulfilled her life ambition of dying her hair pink!”

Emmy Smith, Managing Director of Milsen Smith is doing things she never thought possible since her Shine for Women course, she said: “Shine has given me a sudden ability to be totally truthful about my ambition. Why did I ever hide how hungry I was? I always thought I was brave, but I’ve discovered new found levels of bravery within myself that astonish me.”

Franziska Rizzolli, is a Senior Manager at Microsoft. She said: “Shine has helped me to dig out and rediscover qualities of mine that I forgot and lost over the last years. Regaining that self-confidence and knowledge is an amazing asset for my professional and also personal life. I am so grateful to be and act more myself again.”

The wonderful thing about the time that we spend with these women, is witnessing the change. When we start the course they’ll say “my next big brave move when I go back will be that I’m going to ask my boss what he’s got planned for me”! But by the time they have finished the course, they are saying something as strong as, “I’m going to walk into my bosses office on Monday morning and I’m going to tell him that I want to be Chief Exec one day!” It doesn’t necessarily mean that women are going to get it straight away, it just means that they are taking control, making a plan to identify and plot the course to their bigger game. We just want them to walk away from Shine feeling empowered to know what they want – and how they might start on the journey to achieving it.

Because of that, it’s not just the Companies that get an immediate and direct impact from Shine. Wunderman’s Global Chief Talent Officer, Judy Jackson said: “Normally what you expect – even though you hope for something different – is that you have a great session, and then you go back to work energised. You hope to make an impact. But what really did happen as a result of Shine was that we created a movement. We thought people would get a great experience, we didn’t expect that it would change people’s lives.”

Simon Peck, the Group Managing Director of Engine said that the women returning from Shine were ‘on a second honeymoon – recommitted to Engine!’: “It was an extraordinary thing; they were like a bomb – fizzing with energy, ambition and excitement – it was amazing! They were saying things like ‘it has changed my life’. You could see other people that hadn’t been were thinking ‘I want a piece of that’! Any organisation would be well advised to prepare for the women to come back – they do so at 100mph and want to start WINNING immediately! Lack of preparation for that return was like having a space shuttle landing in your garden. So if you send people to Shine ask yourself, ‘What are you doing to prepare for the earthquake that is coming?”


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