Final Reflections

As my graduation as a Laidlaw Scholar approaches I have undertaken some final reflections of the program and myself as an individual.

What does leadership means to me today?

 Leadership today means a lot more to me than it did two years ago when I had my first Laidlaw Scholarship leadership training weekend. I remember distinctly defining what leadership was in the first session and I was pleasantly surprised how it encapsulated more than just directly and delegating. Leadership also meant I needed to listen and absorb information from my colleagues and seniors. This new definition of leadership meant I needed to open my approach to leadership and consider new methods of working in a team and taking on a leadership role.

In my initial application for this program, I discussed how I thought leadership was a cooperative as well as authoritative role. Through this program I have been lucky to see just how cooperative and authoritative leadership must be to achieve results. Undertaking the research project and internship in my university summers allowed me to practice leadership in a more cooperative role. In the summer after my first year of university I worked closely with King’s Health Partners to research the structures of think tanks and their reach in the academic and professional fields. I cooperated closely with the Women and Children’s health team at KHP and my fellow Laidlaw Scholar to produce a business proposal. I learnt that leadership had a lot to do about being authoritative while also listening and recognising fellow team members strengths to contribute effectively to the final product. Through my experience in the Laidlaw program, I have learnt how determination to succeed is vital but must be measured out in moderation.

I reflected on how I developed as a leader and how my leadership skills developed.

As a leader, I developed as a leader through the Laidlaw program, exploring my research and project management skills, effective communication skills, and my leadership abilities. In my first-year summer, I was a research intern for King’s Health Partners, and I practiced my analytical and interpretation data skills. This is critical for my leadership skills as I was able to collaborate and contribute to projects with a deeper understanding of the quantitative aspects required of the project. Moreover, through several of the Laidlaw Scholar programs where we explored the attributes of leadership, I was able to develop my effective communication skills. I remember vividly in one weekend program I worked with my fellow scholars to create a solution for the issue of fast fashion and its impact on the environment. As we came up with solutions to the disastrous effect of fast fashion, I needed to listen with understanding to my fellow scholars who provided new insights and perspectives on how to tackle the fast fashion problem. By listening with understanding I was able to grow as a leader, adapting new skills and methods of problem solving. Previously I would look at a problem with a quantitative lens, trying to make sense through more tangible methods. Through the Laidlaw program, I was able to adopt qualitative lenses, tackling issues from a multitude of disciplines such as sociology, anthropology, and history. My leadership abilities developed through the Laidlaw Scholarship program as I practiced leading without authority and convey purpose and build coalitions with my fellow scholars and professionals.

Finally, I think this programme has helped me in the future, and I discuss how.

 I believe the Laidlaw Scholarship programme will have a long-lasting impact on my future. I have thoroughly enjoyed the programme and I believe it has enriched my university experience. The concept of leadership always interested me and the advertisement for a leadership program in my first term of university was of great significance to me. However, as my university career has gone by and I have participated in several Laidlaw programmes and projects, I have realised just how critical the program has been for my development both personally and professionally. By discussing leadership with experts in the field and my fellow scholars I have been able to develop skills that I will carry through into my future personal and professional careers. I thoroughly enjoyed collaborating and communicating with my cohort as they are all highly intelligent and adventurous and I have been lucky to learn as much as possible from them. I will continue to speak and highly represent the Laidlaw brand in my future endeavours.

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