Steph Rhodes

Head of Policy & Strategy - Forestry Commission

I was looking for a development programme to help me think about ‘where next?’, I was slightly dubious about the ‘women only’ label, but the content was really appealing and my line manager supportive. So I took the plunge, hoping that the time and financial commitments would prove well worth it.  One year on, I can confirm that they really were.

So what did I get out of the programme? Well, to start with I got to know and learn from a group of fantastic women from organisations across government. 

I also took three main things away: be clear, be bold, be confident.

  1. Be clear: we spent time at the start defining what it is we wanted. Having got that clarity, we were able to focus on how to make it happen. Many of us adapted our plans, but consciously so, deciding to make changes or compromises.
  2. Be bold: women are frequently not as good as men at negotiating and being assertive about what they want. So, how about we start asking? After all, the worst we risk is a ‘no’ – what we don’t ask for, we certainly will not get.
  3. Be confident: women tend to underestimate their skills and abilities. So let’s take an objective look at what we are really good at, as well as what we can learn/become better at. Then let’s pitch this confidently.

One year on, I’m in a role that I would simply never have applied for were it not for Crossing Thresholds, and I‘m truly enjoying it.