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Lisa Quinn

  • Programme: Accelerated Development Programme
  • Nationality: British
  • Job Post-programme: Group Head of External Communications, Royal London Group

Lisa attended the programme in 2012 to develop her global network and leadership skills. At the time, she was a director at executive search firm Taylor Bennett. She now works back in PR and Communications – the industry she left to join Taylor Bennett.

Developing an international network

About 50% of the work that I did at Taylor Bennett was international, so there was an increasing need for me to have a global peer group to network with.Having had a positive experience studying her MBA at London Business School, my boss at Taylor Bennett suggested that a general management programme at the school would help me to meet the right people, and develop me into a more rounded individual.

Through attending the programme, I have met people from around the world, with a variety of ideas and approaches, who I can reach out to whenever I need to. In my core group alone five different nationalities were represented, ranging from CFOs to entrepreneurs. I was amazed how quickly I created an extremely strong bond with my peers.

Unleashing my potential 

The whole programme is cleverly structured to facilitate interacting with people in different environments. Some days you are based in the classroom and others you are off campus, but the elements combine to make a very practical, intense and positive learning experience. The day outdoors was an unexpected highlight for me; I froze in fear attempting to climb a 50 ft pole and it was only my teammates willing me to reach the top that got me through. I was very conscious of not wanting to let the team down and it was an intense bonding experience that I valued. On that day I realised that being scared out of your comfort zone is when you often learn the most.

Transformational experience

The 360 degree survey ensured that there were opportunities to get feedback from others in a very constructive and honest way. You really feel that everyone wants to help you improve. As a result, the feedback from peers and my coach during the programme has been significant and had more impact than advice given to me at other stages of my career.

I loved the Leading People module, led by Professor Randall Peterson. He teaches in such a compelling way and uses lots of real life examples to illustrate different leadership styles and what makes a great leader. The faculty teaching combined with the peer feedback has been transformational for me in terms of self awareness. It has changed the way that I approach people in both professional and personal situations. It taught me to be a more effective listener, and that can only make me a better leader.

Refocused, confident at facing challenges

As well as making me a more rounded person, my international ties have increased as a result of attending the programme. The tools that I gained from faculty have changed the way that I look at the business and I now have more rigour when thinking strategically. On a personal level, the experience has given me the confidence to face challenges that I may not have taken in the past, whilst also enabling me to refocus on the things that I’m good at like running teams. It was a challenging and hugely inspiring few weeks.