Lessons in leadership
There is no single best way to be confident and a leader, Phoenix Palacio has discovered.
What matters is to be true to yourself and authentic, according to the home school student.
Ms Palacio took part in the She Leads programme with 24 other female high school students earlier this month and said she was inspired by a series of women speakers who have been successful in their chosen fields.
Students from Berkeley Institute, Bermuda High School for Girls, Bermuda Institute, CedarBridge Academy and Mount St Agnes along with Ms Palacio, the lone home schooler, came together on July 8 to discuss their week in the She Leads programme organised by BHS and sponsored by HSBC.
The students said they feel more confident and courageous after the programme, which is in its third year.
She Leads was created by Christie Hunter Arscott, award-winning adviser, speaker and author of the book Begin Boldly: How Women Can Reimagine Risk, Embrace Uncertainty and Launch a Brilliant Career.
The programme was created as an extension to the “I Lead” leadership framework, launched by BHS in 2019, to deliver the leadership framework beyond students at BHS.
The weeklong series of workshops and speakers is designed to cater to girls’ learning styles and is focused on empowering, inspiring and connecting participants while teaching them the tools to navigate the challenges of the real world.
BHS director of branding, marketing and communications and She Leads coordinator Julie Butler said: “The skills that we are teaching this week are not always taught in a regular school curriculum but are essential for all aspects of their lives – personal, educational and professional.”
Workshops were delivered by Ms Hunter Arscott, Lorrie Peniston of Synergy Ltd, who helped the girls discover their personal strengths through a workshop on resilience, and Shelle Hendrickson, head of healthcare Bermuda at Axa XL, who shared ways for the girls to make their own opportunities through the i3 Opportunity AccelerateHER framework, which focused on the acts of being intentional, impactful and influential.
Clare O’Connor, global head of editorial content at Bumble, Zoomed in from London, England to share her advice on networking and how to make an impact from the very beginning of a career while Berkeley graduate, Tierrai Tull, talked to the participants about her experience at the United World College in Armenia, and her success in receiving almost $500,000 in scholarships.
The students also took part in a fitness session with Eilidh Franklin from Beyond Fitness.
On the final day, students each presented a personal project where they shared what they had learnt during the week. Some expressed themselves through art, animation, and PowerPoint presentations and one student even wrote and performed an original rap.
Participant Ms Palacio said: “This week has been spectacular … it was just so amazing getting to see all these inspiring women being authentic.
“That is the main thing I am taking away from this – that authenticity really counts and it matters.
“Seeing all of these different women with different personalities, different stories and different things to offer, it just shows that there is no one box cut-out of what is confidence, what is a leader, it’s just being authentic and women empowering women and leading the next generation.
“It was amazing to be able to spend time with all these girls. When we first came in, some of us were too shy to even say our names and towards the end of it there was so much confidence. It has really been inspiring and I will remember this always and take this knowledge with me.”
Catarina Garca of BHS said: “I think my biggest takeaway from the She Leads programme is that I have to be courageous to be fearless and put myself out there. I want to say a huge thank you to HSBC and BHS for picking me to be a part of this programme. I think I’m going to have these skills for a lifetime and it was really useful and impactful.”
And Ahmya Peets of Bermuda Institute added: “This week was a really engaging and lovely experience to be a part of. I feel that I have become more confident in myself. I have become more courageous and I have learnt new tips and skills that I can apply to my life to be a better person and to be the best me I can be.”
HSBC facilitated a workshop on financial literacy. Selita Daniels and Nicola Bromby, premier relationship managers, walked the students through the basics of budgeting, saving, investing and planning for their futures.
Judy Doidge, HSBC executive sponsor of the She Leads Programme said: “The aim of this programme is to inspire and equip Bermuda’s young women with the skills, tools and mindsets needed for their education and their future employment.”
Linda Parker, head of BHS, thanked HSBC for their support and said: “I have seen first-hand how transformational this week is for students. After a few days, you can see their confidence growing and by the end of the week, they are buzzing with their new-found sense of self, and they take that confidence with them into their last year of high school.
“This public / private partnership allows these young women, who may not have had many opportunities to work together, to meet and form a connection. They discover very quickly that they have more in common than they may have realised: the same worries, fears and anxieties about their futures.
“By spending the week together, they have created a bond … and I have no doubt that down the road they will cross paths in their careers. I do hope that they will remember the week they spent together at She Leads fondly.”
Applications for the 2023 She Leads programme will open in March, 2023. For more information on the programme, contact Julie Butler: email@example.com