The Scottish Government and ScotlandIS – the digital technologies cluster management organisation – have conceived an amazing course to nurture future female talent in the IT industry titled, Empowering Women to Lead Digital Transformation (EWLDT).

Sopra Steria was delighted to support this initiative and I, as content design lead at the company, am delighted to share my experience as an attendee.

The Digital Scotland Strategy “A Changing Nation: How Scotland will Thrive in a Digital World” describes eight principles, one of which is ‘Digital Leadership and Culture’, which states: “We recognise that digitisation can deliver better outcomes for Scotland and adapt our leadership style to champion change and engage and empower our staff to innovate.” 

I believe that strong leadership and a collaborative culture make transformation happen, and this shone through on the EWLDT course, which I’d like to reflect on along with how this has helped me grow as a leader and be my ‘authentic self’.

Leadership can be defined in many ways. I’m sure we’ve all heard, read and experienced different interpretations of what leadership is. So many one-stop-shop seminars, podcasts, blogs and courses exist and are designed to churn out ‘effective leaders’. What separates the EWLDT course from the vast number of ‘how to’ leadership materials out there, is that it’s a dedicated programme designed to support you in different ways over a period of three months, by offering:

  • regular workshops
  • one-to-one coaching
  • a group project

The workshops were incredibly well structured, which encouraged us to participate and show our vulnerable side, and featured breakout sessions, guest speakers and the chance to put our learnings into practice. Hearing people in similar roles to myself struggle with their own imposter syndrome, confidence or self-doubt was so empowering. It helped to relieve some of my own anxieties knowing that there were other women with the same thoughts and experiences. 

Outside the workshops, we were randomly assigned into groups to work on a project which we then had to present on the day of graduation. I can honestly say that my group has formed some real friendships and connections from working alongside each other every week for three months. We shared our experiences from the course, coaching sessions and were able to bring our own skills from our day jobs to our group project to make sure it was a collaborative effort. 

I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunity to attend the EWLDT course and I would recommend it to anyone, regardless of where they are in their leadership journey. By participating in this course I believe I am now better placed to advise, design and build digital public services which will contribute to enabling the Digital Scotland strategy to become a reality in the future.