Recruitment advice, job seeker support and company news

Power Of The Collective

16th March 2020

Judith Thorpe

What is one thing you don't want anyone to know about you?

Holy Cr@p – was my first thought when this question was posed by Claire Hayward (Bright Catalyst) at the start of our group coaching programme. I'll keep you wondering about my response (I'm citing Chatham House Rules) but what I am happy to share is how humbled I was by the honesty and Brene Brown vulnerability demonstrated by the amazing women in the room.

I was educated in a single sex school and convent to boot, raised by a quietly introverted woman who was the first person in her family to pursue higher education, relished her own financial independence but supported the maverick, entrepreneurial risk taker that was my Dad.

I was brought up to believe I could and would run the world.

Shaped by my own personal experiences, it never occurred to me that being a woman could be a career limiting factor. Unfortunately my career in recruitment taught me otherwise, as I heard from women who shared personal experiences about losing sight of their purpose, being overlooked in their career progression, struggling to identify and not feeling valued for their "superpower", and who felt excluded in certain professional situations.

Over the past few years, a subject which my younger self took for granted has raced to the top of the corporate agenda, that of diversity and inclusion. Whilst I have always been passionate and inherently promoted equality, the stark statistics that highlighted the lack of women in senior/board roles, particularly within the energy sector, prompted me to take a more proactive approach. I attended conferences, read widely on the subject, and consulted senior women whom I hold in high regard, about what I could do specifically to promote this agenda.

One wise woman told me to create a movement, a collective of supportive peers who would learn from and encourage each other in the pursuit of their career goals, and so the Aberdeen "Ikigai" Group Coaching Programme was born.

Aberdeen Ikigai Coaching Group

Having attended many cohort based courses over the past 20 years, I wanted to put something together that was founded in a common sense of belonging and purpose and that ultimately resulted in empowerment.

My superpower is networking and as a consequence we have an unapologetically fabulous cohort of senior professional women.

After session one I thought it was going to be good, but after session two, which took place yesterday morning, I know it will be fantastic!

What I have learnt from our first two sessions...

  • There are no limits to the power of the collective!
  • Honesty and vulnerability is the foundation of great leadership and great friendship!
  • Women are ultimately resilient, resourceful and yet often regrettably insecure, but imposter syndrome becomes irrelevant as you share common experiences.

I can't wait for Session 3!

Please get in touch if this resonates, or if you would like to be the first to hear about the next group coaching programme (

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