Future Professional Directors brings together professional colleagues from across all areas of the university to create a unique learning experience.
Jaclyn Green, alumna of the first cohort of Future Professional Directors, spoke to us about her experience on the programme.
Since taking part in Future Professional Directors, Jaclyn has been promoted from manager to deputy director of marketing and communications at Harper Adams University.
As well as being deputy to the director across the enire workings of the department I also now lead all communications work, ensuring the Harper Adam's brand is consistently and effectively conveyed to stakeholders through channels including the website, print publications, social media, traditional media and all text and imagery used at events.
After eight years working as a communications manager, in a role that evolved considerably over that time, I was seeking further challenges and progression. I had investigated various CPD options including qualifications relevant to my specialist area but Future Professional Directors was a much better fit for what I wanted to achieve.
It was one of the most valuable areas for me as we were put into groups of people based on how at least one of our challenges matched up, and we were able to work together to turn those challenges on their heads and create more of an opportunity-based approach. My challenge group investigated team inspiration, motivation and development and I have been able to put our findings and recommendations into practice back within my institution.
In so many ways! One of the single biggest themes for me, which arose through all aspects of the programme and associated networking, was that of authenticity. Not just in being honest and open in your work, but in being yourself and embracing your own strengths and talents rather than trying to fit into a model of what you think a leader should be. This was the foundation for me to build confidence and carry it with me throughout the rest of the programme and beyond. I also think the network of colleagues I've gained as a result of the programme has been, and will continue to be, invaluable. There were no other marketing professionals within our cohort, so I was genuinely able to see higher education leadership through the eyes of other specialisms and departments rather than focussing on a marketing 'bubble'.
The work I completed with my challenge group included an investigation involving my department at Harper Adams during which I explored the meaning of 'leadership' with colleagues. At the time we were anticipating the arrival of a new director, so it focussed that discussion, defined what we all thought was needed moving forward and helped, I think, to cement a culture of open discussion. That was an initial impact on the team.
Since the programme ended I have secured the role of deputy director which places me in a better position to apply my learning and help to continue to shape and develop the team, which is involved in some very exciting work that should have a huge, positive impact for the university as a whole.
“Talking is working!” I was that child at school whose report cards always commented that I talked too much and I often worry that I do. But it is only through talking to the people around you that you can give and receive rich information that can be used to make a positive impact. You can seek to understand what motivates the team, you can bring together data to help shape strategy and you can learn more about colleagues’ points of view to determine how you approach matters and take beneficial steps forward.
Simon Pride, director of marketing and communications, told us about the impact of the programme on Jaclyn and the Harper Adam's team:
Both Jaclyn’s confidence and her contribution to Harper Adam's marketing and communications function has accelerated since Future Professional Directors. She is now the deputy director of the department and her input has been invaluable to the development of the marketing and communications strategy and a departmental re-structure.
Click here to find out more about Future Professional Directors.
Future Professional Directors has been created in partnership with the following stakeholders: