The Future Leaders programme run each year by LGcomms is a fantastic initiative. Each year it offers a dozen or so comms managers and officers the chance to join a development programme aimed at bringing forward our next wave of comms leaders, heads and directors. This year’s intake has one thing in common: They are all women.
I have been mentoring comms managers in the UK for several years now and always enjoy the process - meeting new people, sharing ideas, jointly tackling issues and hoping to impart a smidge of what I have learned after 20 years in the game.
So I was very pleased when I was again asked to speak at the launch of this year’s Future Leaders programme in London last week and be a mentor once more.
What struck me instantly the moment I arrived in Hackney Town Hall was that I was the only man in the room.
As LGcomms Chair, Cormac Smith, commented, the all-female intake this year “was not selected on gender, It was selected on merit.” They were chosen on ability, skills and knowledge - each candidate was interviewed rigorously before they were offered a place.
Some might argue that it’s unfair or unbalanced to have not a single man on the group.
But do you know what – one of many things that 11 years in local government taught me is that are too many grey, middle-aged blokes sitting in the most senior organisational positions.
So if this year’s intake are able to help to change this in the future then that can only be a positive thing in my book.
Many of the people who have completed the programme in prevous years have gone on to secure more senior roles so I am full of hope.
I wish all of the future leaders well and look forward to watching their progress over the following months.
And if you wanted a good reason for why your organisation should join LGcomms this is it – the chance to put a talented comms pro through a free development programme which would cost several thousand pounds to buy from a commercial provider.
Well done to Eleri Roberts and Kim Patterson of Westminster City Council who organise the programme each year.
Darren Caveney is co-creator of comms2point0 and an associate member of LGcomms
image via wikimedia commons