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27 March 2024

Rashida: Pathways gave me the tools to create change

Rashida, a Pathway 3 leader, shares what stood out to her from the Pathways programme. She highlights the network she has built and the tools she gained.

Rashida, a Pathway 3 leader and principal social worker in Brent, describes the Pathways programme as challenging, helpful and overall, an amazing programme. 

What brought you to the Pathways programme? 

Having recently been appointed to the role of principal social worker I was moving into a more strategic space and needed to develop my skills in managing, communicating and working in those spaces. So when the opportunity came up to join the Pathways programme, this seemed like perfect timing and the right course for me. I actually applied for Pathway 2 but the Frontline team suggested I join Pathway 3 as an aspirant leader. This was a big jump, but the programme was both helpful and challenging. It adjusted my thinking to look at the bigger picture and I started to view myself as a change agent. Ultimately, taking part in the Pathways programme has had a big impact, which is demonstrated in the changes I’ve been able to make and been a part of in my local authority.  

What key things stood out to you from the Pathways programme? 

  1. Gaining the tools to support anti-racist practice 
    While starting the Pathways programme I was working towards the children and young people’s department becoming an anti-racist organisation at the same time. This involved commissioning training, setting standards and holding ourselves accountable for anti-racist practice. The Pathways programme really gave me the tools I needed to push this work through and those standards have now been ratified and we are an anti-racist organisation. 

    Aspects of the programme that particularly stood out for me in this journey included a lifechanging session with Maria Takaendisa around anti-racism, which supported me in conversations with senior management on this topic. Alongside an online module exploring leading in colour and the work we did around having a lens that amplifies the LGBTQ+ community. 

    Overall, we need to start talking about these topics more, exploring this with colleagues and children and families, making sure lived experiences are heard and having an impact on our services.  
  2. Building a tribe  
    I’ve built a network of people on the Pathways programme that has been really helpful as a source of information. 90% of the time there is no need to reinvent the wheel, someone has likely already done what you are attempting and has a solution or advice. The openness and kindness of this network has been wonderful and really encouraging.  

    I was on this aspirational leadership journey with Pathway 3 which brought with it imposter syndrome. However, many of the senior leaders in the room were also feeling the same way, which really made me feel more comfortable in the space and reminded me we are all on a learning journey together. 

What role has the Pathways programme played in your leadership development? 

At the beginning of my new role I had the view that I had to be somebody else and let go of some of the more operational work. By taking part in Pathway 3, I realised it was all about shifting my focus, not who I was. I now have a greater understanding of the political climate and its impact on the service, the recruitment and retention crisis and can use this to think more strategically.  

I have ideas on what changes need to be made and I can now communicate this effectively to senior management, working towards the best service for children and families.