Shenel participated in the 3-day Feminist Leadership training that took place in the autumn of 2022. Shenel is the Founder & Managing Director of The Ebonista Project.  A Community Interest Company that provides emotional and practical support to women and children impacted by domestic abuse and sexual violence.  As a grassroots organisation led by Black, female survivors, Ebonista welcomes all women but has a strong focus on reaching women of Black African and Caribbean heritage who may have struggled accessing mainstream services due to a lack of cultural understanding in our society.

Shenel found out about the training through the WRC newsletter and felt the training was really suitable for her as a woman with her own business. She explains that when starting her organisation, her main focus was supporting the women. Things like business management and leadership were secondary.

“The feminist approach into leadership made perfect sense for what I was doing”

Shenel states that she really enjoyed the training; the content was exactly as outlined in the description, and it was perfectly tailored. She also says that she really liked the group, which had a big impact on her overall enjoyment of the course.

“It was a good variety of people from different backgrounds and experiences. I really enjoyed the conversations and being in a room with people who have similar passion for female empowerment, even if you don’t agree on everything”

She further says that the training exceeded her expectations and that she was able to implement the learning and tools straight away into her working life.

“The topics covered were perfect […] I took away a lot of things that I could use in my work the next day, everything was really practical”

Shenel particularly liked the topics related to leadership qualities and processes, including how to manage teams and how to pull out their strengths. Another really useful element of the training was the conversations around wellbeing.

“I lead emotionally, but I need to balance that […] I still refer to my notes from the training which supports me with the work/home balance.”

The notion of leading by example struck a chord for Shenel and supported her in remembering the need to set boundaries. She says that she wants to lead by example to her colleagues, to demonstrate the importance of protecting oneself, to have boundaries and the importance of supervision and self-care.

She further commends the delivery of the programme, that the two facilitators brought different experiences to the training and facilitation and that everyone got a chance to talk. Shenel is particularly pleased with all the slides and materials that were distributed to the participants. This makes the learning long-lasting as she is able to go back into the documents long after the training is finished. She has also been sharing some of the activities with her colleagues.

In terms of what could have been done better, Shenel says that it would be great to have even more sessions. The topic of the final session was decided by the group, and it would have been great to do more sessions so that all topics suggested could have been covered. WRC will take this feedback on board for future training opportunities.

Thank you so much, Shenel, for your participation in the programme and for agreeing to be a case study!

Feminist Leadership