30 January 2024
On Tuesday 23 January, Lower Sixth students on Woldingham’s new Leadership Programme enjoyed the first in a series of Leadership Live sessions, where alumnae discuss their experiences and expertise of leadership in action. The evening’s guest speaker was Abby McGovern (2017), Director of Education UK at Debate Mate, an organisation which aims to improve social mobility by teaching key skills through after school debate programmes.
Before talking to Director of Leadership Mr Ross about her journey since leaving Woldingham, Abby brought a little debate to the fore, asking her audience to move to a particular side of the room depending on their answer to the question “Are leaders born or made?” Students proffered their views on this with, perhaps unsurprisingly, the balance of opinion being leadership can be learnt.
In the subsequent conversation, Abby talked about her approach to becoming the best leader she can be. The students reaped plenty of benefits from Abby’s return visit to Woldingham, as Zoe explains.
Zoe B, Lower Sixth
Abby talked about her early career as a primary school teacher and co-founder of a creativity conference, meeting her business partner by chance while waitressing! Abby told us about her great passion for developing a more creative space for children to learn and build on their critical thinking and communication skills.
When asked for tips for young aspiring leaders, Abby emphasised the benefits of applying interpersonal, sometimes called ‘soft’, skills into our leadership styles. She outlined the importance of being able to connect with her team, building understanding with them to achieve the best outcome for the group. Abby also reinforced the benefits of learning from our mistakes to become better leaders in the future. Abby’s personal experience and words of advice were very impactful. I’m sure we will all take them into account when taking on leadership roles in our own Woldingham community and beyond.