Special Edition is an initiative run by TRC, which was created to empower more females in the digital and tech sectors. Women only make up 15% of leadership roles in Scotland and Special Edition encourages women to develop both personally and professionally to restore more gender balance and female empowerment in the workplace. They provide a combination of professional training as well as delivering expert advice and networking. Our Senior Designer, Kari Yoshime, was one of the fortunate few to be selected for this years programme. We caught up with her to find out more about her Special Edition experience, what she learned and how it may affect her future career. Here is what she had to say:
Why did you apply?
I love what I do but I don’t see myself at the same level forever. Why can't I be a Creative Director, Managing Director or Board Member one day? There's a popular theory that many women believe we can only progress upwards if we can demonstrate experience in the skills to do that job applied for, whereas, many men get promoted based on potential as oppose to experience. While I can’t say that’s true, I do know that's how I judged myself in my career. Training, or personal development tended to be geared towards helping improve my performance in a current position or learn a specific skill related to it.
I’ve always been focused on my future but lacked a clear road-map or timescales on how to get there. Whilst very driven, I knew my goals could be better aligned. I even went down to a four-day week to focus on my personal development. But there’s only so much you can learn from general networking, books, and Ted-talks.
I had heard so many good things about Special Edition from friends and colleagues. The programme addresses many of the barriers I found I was facing like confidence building, work/life balance and negotiation skills. But what particularly excited me was being able to learn and collaborate alongside a group of like-minded women outside of my day-to-day job on a regular basis.
What are the sessions like?
Each day long session is held in the trendy Clockwise building in Glasgow, with a different trainer each time. The first session was really fun - we created short adverts which we filmed and then played for the group. I admit I did feel a bit pressured to get something together with such a tight deadline, but we ended up bonding with each other in the making of the adverts. I hate seeing myself in film, but my partner was great at coaching me through my lines. My job is mainly focused on client briefs, so it was very different to make myself the brief!
There was an amazing exercise called ‘Going through the ‘Zig Ziglar’s Wheel of Life’. What I really enjoyed is that the exercise wasn’t only about how you feel you’re doing in your work life, but also your personal life. Once we rated ourselves we were able to articulate more realistic goals and assign deadlines to them. For example, what will I achieve in the next 5 hours, 5 days, 5 weeks etc.
You can download a version of it here: http://madeforsuccess.com/PDF/Born_to_Win_Workbook_by_Zig_Ziglar.pdf
The Second session was about work/life balance and authentic leadership. We were introduced to some great time management tools, such as the Eisenhower Model - basically a decision matrix to help you prioritise your to-dos (and even get rid of some!).
We also did a ‘Guided Journeys’ exercise to help determine our values which, unexpectedly, blew my mind. If you had asked me to draw up a list of my values, without hesitation I could rattle off a list. But after being taken through some guided journeys, I was able to create a list that felt much more genuine, and some of it surprised me. After this we paired up and coached each other. From this we created short statements which were turned into public commitments to help us create the work-life balance we wanted.
Our trainer pointed out something interesting that I never considered before: ‘If you’re in conflict with someone it’s probably because you have different values. Values are what make us who we are and help you gain a sense of fulfilment. If you’re living to your values you can be authentic.‘
One of my commitments was to take the time out to have breakfast at home before rushing off to work.
It’s a small group, there’s only 8 of us. They did a great job of selecting a group of women who get along really well and have enough in common, but with enough varied backgrounds, perspectives and points of view.
I love how honest and open everyone is. We discuss real life challenges and conflicts we are experiencing at work or in our personal lives. It’s already become such a great support network outside of the sessions. So far there have only been two sessions but I already feel they have changed me as a person and I’m excited to put what I’ve learnt into practice and looking forward to the rest.
If you're interested in finding out more or applying next year visit: https://trcmedia.org/training/special-edition