Leaders Plus founder, Verena Hefti, from the Lewisham area of London, wanted to enable parents to develop their leadership skills to further their careers. It is this social venture that won Verena the Points of Light award, given by Prime Minister Theresa May on Monday 1 April 2019.
As a mother Verena was determined to prove that parents do not have to choose between their families and their careers. With support from Cambridge Social Ventures, she developed the nine-month fellowship programme, Leaders Plus, to help women and men to further develop their confidence and career skills with a senior leader mentor, career acceleration support and maternity/paternity support interventions. And, solidifying the ethos of the programme, Fellows can bring their babies to all sessions. The oversubscription of the pilot programme, 58 applications for 15 spaces, highlighted the importance for support of this kind. The incredible success of the programme has resulted in Verena expanding the programme into multiple cohorts, and she is currently taking applications for ‘Leaders with Babies Fellowship 2019’, which launched at an event at the House of Commons attended by her local MP Tulip Siddiq in March 2019.
Points of Light
The Prime Minister said in a personal letter to Verena: “Drawing on your own experience, you are inspiring others to combine parenthood and their careers. Through ‘Leaders Plus’ you have created an innovative way of helping talented leaders with young children realise their potential and I wish you the best in your continued work.” The purpose of the award is to recognise and celebrate outstanding volunteers who are positively changing their communities.
Verena’s vision for Leaders Plus stems from her desire to ensure that, regardless of gender, no parent needs to choose between a leadership career and leading an engaged, fulfilled family live.
Winning the award can only reinforce the importance of the Leaders with Babies Fellowship and continue to demonstrate the need to empower parents within the workplace; as Verena says “I am thrilled to have received this award on behalf of so many other ‘Leaders with Babies’ and our amazing Fellows. Every day, they are changing the paradigm that you shouldn’t have to choose between being ambitious in your leadership career and being an engaged and loving parent to your young children.”
Applications are being taken for the Leaders with Babies Fellowship 2019; the closing date is Tuesday 23 April.
Find out more – https://www.leadersplus.org.uk/
Points of Lights Award – https://www.pointsoflight.gov.uk/leaders-plus/
Cambridge Social Ventures – https://www.jbs.cam.ac.uk/faculty-research/centres/social-innovation/cambridge-social-ventures/