How I grew my leadership capabilities with a Chevening Fellowship

Find out how Boitumelo Tumy Motsoatsoe leveraged her Chevening Clore Leadership Fellowship experience to expand her network and boost her leadership skills.

The call for applications for the Chevening Clore Leadership Fellowship came at a time when I had just transitioned into a new role and was looking for an opportunity to grow my leadership capabilities.

I found out about the fellowship through a fellow board member at the time who had been the first person in South Africa to be selected for the fellowship. Witnessing her journey and seeing the impact of the fellowship on her life and career motivated me to apply.

“I was excited by the prospect of expanding my network outside of South Africa.”

During the two-week residential programme in Oxfordshire, we built a strong, international community where we could explore ideas, conduct peer mentorship and support each other through big life moments. My cohort continues to be an important resource for me even now, in both my personal and professional life.

I had an opportunity to be mentored by the Executive Director of a huge international festival. Our sessions provided great support, knowledge and inspiration which helped me step into my own shoes with more intention, awareness and confidence. I had always played small but she challenged me to think and do big things.

In the second half of my fellowship, I also had access to the most amazing coach who walked alongside me during a critical time in my life. Not only did I gain more clarity about my own journey, but the experience inspired my own journey as a coach – a qualification I received through this fellowship as well.

The programme enabled me to develop a diverse network of leaders from across the globe who challenged me to see myself, and the world, in a different way. My network has opened up pathways for me to opportunities that I would have never been able to access otherwise. Through this experience I have been trusted to lead teams, to facilitate conversations, to run programmes and most recently, to produce an international conference.

“My biggest takeaways from the fellowship include the significance of community, the power of small actions with radical impact, and the effectiveness of adaptive leadership.”

I have gained more awareness about the barriers that make it hard for people to fully engage, participate, and belong, and I feel inspired by the strategies I learned to drive meaningful engagement and belonging. I have incorporated these learnings into the way that I lead, parent, and work.

My biggest goal for my future career is to create a fund that will provide resources for other young people and young mothers, giving them access to life-changing opportunities to help them expand their sense of self, knowledge, and networks. The fund will help to reduce barriers that prevent them from accessing life-changing opportunities.

The Chevening Clore Leadership Fellowship is open for applications until 6 March 2024. Apply today to boost your career in the arts and culture sector.

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Methaporn Singhanan is a Chevening Fellow at the British Library for the academic year 2022-23. A PhD candidate at Chiang Mai University in her home country Thailand, she is currently researching Manuscript Textiles in the Library’s Southeast Asian collections.