Judit is 29 years old and the Data, Monitoring and Evaluation Officer at Survivor's Network.

Judit previously knew about Women’s Resource Centre as she is working in the UK women’s sector. She first saw the opportunity on LinkedIn and thought it looked like a great opportunity to learn and explore what feminist leadership looks like in practice. She recalls thinking the programme looked really interesting with really interesting sessions, from negotiation and presentation skills to what the contrast between feminist and mainstream leadership looks like.

Judit says that she expected to gain tangible skills and tools on leadership that she could apply in practice. She says that the programme exceeded her expectations as she got way more out of it, not only on a professional level but on a personal level as well.

I realised my own value and that we have a lot to bring to the table in so many different ways and that it is about collaboration, cooperation and that diversity is important.

She recalls that in the beginning she thought it would be good to apply some practical, tangible things to work practice. To develop skills towards leadership. She says she got way more out of it, on a personal level as well. 

“I thought I would get more skills on a professional level but it also impacted me on a personal level a lot. Especially being in a space where those feminist values were applied and adhered to by the people and being in a safe space with other people. In so many levels. To be able to be vulnerable, to be able to be honest with each other. And so many other values that we explored in the training, I thought ‘this is how life should be not just leadership’.”

Judit says that the negotiation session really stood out for her on a personal level. She says that as a migrant in the UK, she often finds herself – unconsciously or consciously – adapting herself to what she thinks is expected of her in the UK culture. However, the programme, and the negotiation session in particular:

“I realised my own value and that we have a lot to bring to the table in so many different ways and that it is about collaboration, cooperation and that diversity is important. I knew all of it but nevertheless sometimes you find yourself unconsciously adapt to how things are done or to change yourself and to adapt yourself so you’re not thriving or not being yourself. The negotiation skills session made me realise ‘this is what works best for me, this is what I want’ and how to put that across and not feeling like I shouldn’t be asking for things. But to think ‘no I’m also a professional in this space, I am human, and I want to explore this option’ and having those conversations in the workplace and with different stakeholders. Just getting that confidence is important”

She says that the session increased her confidence. She further notes that she liked the way the trainers facilitated the sessions and that she found the space to be safe, where they learnt from each other, explored what feminism looks like in leadership, and applied it. Judit says that she wasn’t aware of it until the end, but throughout the whole programme they were actually practicing feminist leadership.

“Like, having these conversations, safe spaces, lifting each other up, listening, supporting each other. Receiving and giving really productive feedback, always with the sense of it not being weaknesses but rather something that could improve, more person-centred. I just felt it was such a nice held space. Just being together, reflecting on these things, that was already leadership. That’s the overall feeling I get from the programme”

Reflecting on the content of the programme, Judit says:

"We did one exercise in the beginning that was really interesting. We reflected on what we think about leadership, what is the first things that comes to mind, and building on that together with how would you like your manager to be like and how would you like your leaders to be like. And thinking about that one person you admire. I thought that exercise was so interesting because it personalises what you admire and what you want – and that’s leadership. And then okay, how can you do that. Unfolding that was really interesting. Overall, it was brilliant, I loved it. The space was really nice and that’s what I take away"

Judit considers the programme to have impacted her both personally and professionally – and that the two are linked. Judit is now in a different position from when she started, and she says the programme supported her in the transitions. 

"We did the presentations just before I had the interview and it made me reflect on how I present. It surely impacted the way I did the interview and I got the job!"

She goes on to say it has also impacted her to think more strategically:

"It also made me reflect on my organisation and made me realise how much work goes behind setting up structures of feminist leadership within the organisation and also what can I bring to the organisation, having done the training.

With the new job, I’m part of a new team and we are doing a lot of advocacy and campaigns around feminism, values and all the work we do. So I think it was crucial this programme for me in starting my new job and applying the things we learnt."

The programme also had a great personal impact on her, Judit recalls:

"The question on how to advocate for feminist leadership on a personal level, within my closest circle of loved ones, was always an interest of mine. In the programme, I got to reflect on how to be myself, and what impact that will have on others. Now I am applying feminist values in my day-to-day more consciously and ground myself and everything I do in those. Like the empathy, the listening, the caring, lifting my loved ones up. I affirm the importance of these values and think about how to actually practice them and their impact on my personal relationships."

She also talks about the importance of self-care, the compassion to others and constant learning. She learnt a lot from the women in the group:

"In the programme, it was really amazing, I really appreciated that we were such a diverse group. There were people from various background, we were just in a really nice space where we were just learning from each other, being honest and supportive, it was really nice. I learnt so much from the group. Really impressive women. It was amazing to learn from such a diverse group of women and to realise how much it brings to your life. I really enjoyed that"

Judit was also reflecting on the Rosa conference and said it was a really nice way to wrap up the programme.

"Figuring out the Rosa conference, who to speak and what to say, was great and was a perfect exercise to end the programme. We all worked on the presentation together even if it was Sidra who made the presentation, we worked together to on it. It was also a brilliant opportunity for young feminist leaders to practice that and do a presentation in such a conference"

Thank you Judit for all the great value you brought to the Feminist Leadership Training Programme 2021! Thank you for agreeing to do this case study interview.

Note: answers have been edited for length and clarity.