Digital Leadership participant Sarah Slack offers a stark insight into her journey from retail work to senior leadership, and how the Warwick Executive Diploma has helped hone her evolving skills.
Upon receiving my GCSE results as a teenager, there was never an expectation that I would pursue further academic qualifications, so at 16, I found myself working in retail. I quickly realised that I was capable of achieving more, and I had a strong desire to make a bigger contribution to society.
Moving straight into a role in the public sector, I was immediately supported and enjoyed the hands-on approach to learning. For the next 15 years of my career, I undertook work-based learning across many different roles which really gave me a breadth and depth to public sector service delivery. Between taking time out for maternity leave and working part-time, I managed to achieve a senior leadership position.
Despite my consistent progress, I would regularly doubt my accomplishments. I had a persistent, internalised fear of being exposed as a fraud, which I now understand to be imposter syndrome. This resonated back to my early feelings of not being good or intelligent enough to undertake academic learning, let alone take part in a graduate programme.
I was at the stage of my career in which I was looking towards the next step. I wanted to put my own insecurities to bed and smash that glass ceiling, as I was at the stage in life where I could commit the time and effort required to undertake further studies.
When I saw the course brochure for The Warwick Executive Diploma in Digital Leadership, I was immediately excited and drawn to the content and modular framework of the course, particularly the pathway to an MBA. I’m now half way through the course, which has been hard at times when juggling home life with online lessons, especially during COVID-19 lockdowns, as I was fighting for bandwidth with three teenagers all online learning too!
Studying the course has enabled me to leave my comfort zone and explore some completely new subjects, which has all been so worthwhile. I’ve also really surprised myself with the knowledge and expertise I’ve built over the years and my ability to apply to this course – it has really boosted my confidence.
The global cohort of students is fantastic, and has provided me with insight into such diverse perspectives on topics that I just wouldn’t have gained elsewhere. Also, the variety of sectors and organisations has been really insightful as it’s really easy to solely network and learn from our own industry at times. We have had to be creative in how we engage and socialise, with the pandemic dictating remote learning, but I’m really looking forward to being able to meet up in the summer, all being well.
If I had to pull out one highlight, it’s the Whatsapp group chat. Particularly the weekend before an assignment deadline – it’s on fire! Teamwork, support and encouragement at its finest.