Over my two years in the Laidlaw Research and Leadership Programme, I’ve learned so much about leadership in realistic, practical, and ethical contexts that will undoubtedly aid my career for years to come. The past two summers and LEAD days have not only made me more aware of my own working style and what works best for me, but also how to apply and strengthen all my skills in a wider context. The main leadership goal I had when entering the programme was that I wanted to improve my teamwork and collaboration skills, as I had previously worked on my own whenever given the option and knew the skill was vital to effective leadership and team leading. Through the various LEAD days and my LiA project, I can say that I’ve grown these skills exponentially through practical experience and insightful workshops. Now, I feel more than comfortable working on a team and I know how best to make my work stand out while contributing to a wider goal in collaboration with others. Collaborating with the National Irish Visual Arts Library (NIVAL) gave me the opportunity to apply everything I’ve learned about contributing to shared goals across a team and creating a product that’s greater than the sum of its parts. As with this goal, many of my expectations and development plans going into the programme have been met and exceeded.
More so, from an ethics standpoint, I’ve created a positive, ethical, and morally sustainable working model for myself that I wouldn’t have been able to form prior to the programme. Utilising ethics to ground my work in a healthy work-life balance has helped me to apply what I’ve learned in the workshops directly to benefit my mental wellbeing. Working so closely with mental health topics and resources over the past two years has increased my awareness of my own mental health, and using ethical outlets and a platform to create a positive impact has been extremely fulfilling.
The work I enjoyed most was my LiA, where I was able to act as a global citizen by contributing to a Ukraine Emergency Fund specifically protecting vulnerable LGBTIQ individuals. As of right now, the donations generated through my project have totalled over €300 with much more to go for zine sales. Similarly, the experience of highlighting queer Irish voices in a space where they were previously being diminished has also been invaluable, as I got to speak directly with creators who felt underrepresented despite the undeniably queer roots of Dublin’s current creative scene. This contribution as a global citizen has been incomparable and the highlight of my college career.
Overall, I’m incredibly grateful for the building blocks of ethical leadership and global citizenship the programme has given me, and the practical application of these ideas that have made a positive impact as a result. I hope to continue to push my boundaries of what more I can learn and who I can learn from while also maintaining a model of ethical and morally sustainable work boundaries.