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Congratulations to our University of Leeds Aurorans 2023!

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Celebrating excellence
Equality, Diversity and Inclusion
Spotlight
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In October we celebrated 107 colleagues who completed the Aurora Women’s Leadership Development Programme in 2023. They join a community of 280 alumni at University of Leeds, and over 10,000 people nationally who have taken part in the programme since it launched in 2013. 

Aurora is a leadership development programme for women (including non-binary and transgender colleagues) in grade 6-8 roles. Designed and facilitated by Advance HE, Aurora was created to help address the under-representation of women in senior roles in higher education. Aurora is a “leadership ignition journey, designed inspire women to aspire and achieve leadership positions within higher education”. OD&PL supports colleagues at Leeds throughout the process of taking part in the Aurora programme. They provide application guidance, programme onboarding, networking and development sessions, and an end of programme celebration. 

Maria Stopyra, Aurora Champion for University of Leeds said: 

Congratulations to all of our Aurorans in 2023. We are incredibly proud of all their achievements, and the leadership journey they have taken this year. Aurora is a very personal journey of self-discovery, and the dedication and enthusiasm from all our participants is inspiring. We’re excited to see where their leadership journey takes them next and continue to build this community of women leaders at the University of Leeds!

Here is what some of our Aurorans have said about their experience: 

Aurora really made me examine my values and whether they were mirrored in my working environment and more broadly in my department and institution. Shortly into the programme I applied for a role here at the University of Leeds that more closely aligned with my values and was successful. Aurora gave me the tools and vocabulary to articulate what I had been feeling for a while, and both personally and professionally I feel it was the best move I could have made.

Lianne Stennett, Research Metrics Adviser 

One of the most beneficial aspects of the Aurora Programme was working with my Aurora mentor, who helped me to explore some of the themes from the programme in more detail. In particular we worked on stakeholder engagement and credibility.

Jennie Hibbard, Lead Technician, School of Biology 

Participating in Aurora has changed my outlook of what leadership in Higher Education can look like. I have developed mental resilience, supportive connections and strategic knowledge, all of which have encouraged me to put myself forward for new opportunities. These have not always worked out, but somehow now that doesn't matter so much - each experience is helping me develop my vision of why and how I want to lead within our university context.

Dr Charity Brown, Associate Professor, School of Psychology 

What’s next for our Aurorans? 

With such a large community of Aurorans at the University of Leeds, OD&PL are now collaborating with the Women at Leeds Network (W@LN) and past Aurorans to establish an Aurora Alumni Network. This network will continue to support the leadership journey of Aurorans through peer support and leadership development initiatives, starting with a launch event on Tuesday 16 January from 2-3.30pm. The theme for the event is ‘Uplifting other Women’, tying into Aurora’s themes of supporting women and women in leadership.  

Details of these events will be published on the Aurora webpage soon, and all our Aurorans and Aurora mentors will receive an invite. If you have taken part in Aurora at another institution and would like to be added to the mailing list for this invitation please contact Maria Stopyra, m.stopyra@leeds.ac.uk. 

You can find out more on the OD&PL webpage for Aurora. Applications for Aurora 2025 will open in June 2024. 

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