Our impact Case studies Feminist Leadership 2021: Tigan Tigan Palmer is 28 years old and the Senior Network Manager London at The Girls' Network. How did you first hear about the project and what made you sign up/what were your expectations? I had followed the work of the WRC with admiration for a while, and had been exploring the concept of Feminist leadership with my line manager, who has recently completed training with We Are Feminist Leaders. She saw this opportunity come up and sent it to me. It sounded perfect, exactly what I was looking for: an opportunity to connect with and be inspired by women with a focus on intersectionality and positive action which was prioritising applications from those with lived experience of being minoritised. It was clear that the purpose of the course aligned with my own sense of purpose and why I do what I do, which I can now articulate due to the training as identifying, holding to account and dismantling the systems of structural advantage and power that we exist within, and exploring ways to build alternatives to this driven by a commitment to equity, respect of difference, shared humanity, and above all belief that it’s possible - it’s hard to retain that hope sometimes, given the challenges of the sector and world! The description of the training stood out to me as sitting on the cutting edge of developments in inclusion practice due to the topics suggested and the clear positive action being taken in prioritising the applications of those with lived experience of being minoritised. It went above and beyond my expectations, and was, by miles, the most meaningful and affecting training I have ever been on What did you think of the training programme? It went above and beyond my expectations, and was, by miles, the most meaningful and affecting training I have ever been on. The providers, Tebs and Evelina, were the epitome of feminist leaders; they were genuine, reflexive, inspiring, challenging, constructive, agile. From the start, they created a space in which we all felt seen, heard, supported and safe, which is challenging in person let alone on Zoom. The way the course had been planned was excellent; we covered new topics alongside being given space to share and reflect, and the way they encouraged us to plan and give presentations on ourselves was very artfully done, resulting in us all having an elevator pitch and feedback on our speaking styles, but also the chance to hear from and be inspired by each other. We connected in a way that was truly exemplary of the ‘bring-your-whole-self-to-work’ ethos and the fact that for all of us in this sector, it isn’t ‘just work’ - it never has been or will be, and that felt empowering rather than a ball and chain. The blend of talking theory and practise was brilliant, and every session left me with interesting theoretical thinking points as well as practical tools and approaches which directly translated into my everyday life. The space at the end of the programme which allowed the group to communicate what we wanted to look at was so helpful; again, nothing about the programme felt prescribed, but rather very needs-led - we were given the tools as well as the opportunity to communicate the needs we had to be met. The culmination of the training, i.e. creating the presentation together, was also wonderfully planned: it was a chance for us to reflect on and articulate what we had gleaned from the programme, as well as solidify relationships, shine a light on members of the group, and gain development opportunities. Every session moved me, often to tears, as I had the total honour of hearing and learning from the incredible participants as well as Evelina and Tebs. I felt simultaneously loved and respected, and stretched and challenged, which is all I want from all relationships and endeavours! How has the project impacted you personally and/or professionally? I completed this course during a period of significant change in my professional life. At points, work was incredibly challenging, repetitive, overwhelming, and I was burnt out. I also suffer quite critically from imposter syndrome. The programme made me know, deeply, that I am never alone. It made me realise the importance of prioritising my needs, and confirmed the sense I had that listening to my gut responses and having emotion driving the sense of mission I have are strengths. It made me feel I deserve to be where I am, and enabled me to marry that sense with my commitment to using the structural advantages and skills I have to make space for, learn from and amplify those who have been minoritised, at macro and micro levels. The tools, particularly the diversity of thought decision-making tool, and the way to challenge micro-aggressions or other unacceptable behaviours, will stay with me always and have already proved hugely effective in my professional life. Every session moved me, often to tears, as I had the total honour of hearing and learning from the incredible participants as well as Evelina and Tebs. I felt simultaneously loved and respected, and stretched and challenged, which is all I want from all relationships and endeavours! It’s not hyperbolic to say that this course impacted me in a profound and lasting way. What could have been done better? The only thing I’d add to this is co-creation from the word go; can you have a group of individuals who are the programme’s target audience, women with lived experience of being minoritised, co-create the content more so than you had already? Could you facilitate a reflection session which enables you to capture qualitative impact but importantly get the feedback the programme deserves, rather than people hurrying to complete a feedback form on which time may not allow them to give the focus/time required? I would also love an in-person meet up, of course. The tools and the way to challenge micro-aggressions or other unacceptable behaviours, will stay with me always and have already proved hugely effective in my professional life Is there anything else you want to mention? A huge and heartfelt thank you, just in case my gratitude hasn’t come across in the bucket loads it is in. In running this programme, you are changing the world - we are together in this and I am honoured to be a part of it. Thank you Tigan for doing this case study interview and for all your invaluable contributions in the Feminist Leadership Training Programme 2021.