Tucked at the side of every training room running the Springboard Women’s Development Programme is a treasure trove. This is the ‘resource table’. My experience of training rooms has often meant this table is somewhat worn, perhaps a mismatch with the other furniture and on one memorable occasion was actually just a window ledge. No matter, thanks to a very handy length of sari material, I can transform any format flat surface into a showcase for wonders. Trainers are full of trick like that!

The treasures brought by participants (typically up to 30 women) are objects that they wish to share. These could be something they are proud of, an advertisement for an event, a memory, something they think would be helpful to others or (my favourite) cake. The first session your’s truly brings an eclectic set of items for the table: books, a Lego chicken (I love both Lego and chickens), postcards, article cuttings and something one of my sons has made for me. On subsequent sessions it is up to the group.

30 women, 3 face to face session with each group and countless programmes. The resource table and I have seen hundreds of objects. Each session I will take time to ask the object’s owner to share with the group why they brought it to share. As these tales evolved, I have added to my reading list, laughed and cried. I have also learnt.

Do not judge a book by its cover

Many of the object are books. Some are novels, some non-fiction. Some are brought because ‘I found it helpful’. But often these books represent a pivotal role in that woman’s story.  The book may have helped navigate a difficult time, been given by a loved one or contains a story that has inspired.

Tails of the unexpected (I did spell that right)

A key part of Springboard is the concept of ‘me time’. One of my participants had chosen to learn taxidermy (“preserving of an animal’s body via mounting (over an armature) or stuffing, for the purpose of display or study” thanks Wikipedia). Each to their own. For the final session she brought in her achievement. In a large bell jar sat, looking strangely legal, a small mouse on a cotton reel. He (?) was clutching a small briefcase and wearing glasses. We spent quality time looking at each other. To this day I’m not sure whether it was cute or creepy.

Good things come in small packages

I picked up a small, unassuming box. I asked for its owner as I opened it. Inside was a military medal. It has been presented by the Queen for services in Afghanistan. The medal’s recipient calmly pointed out that the next small box contained another medal presented to her by Barack Obama. There was silence in the room. This woman had left a very difficult role and had joined us on the last session by taking time out from her new role with a new employer. She had come to deliver a single message: Own your achievements. She felt she had not done so until Springboard.

What resource could you share with someone today?

This article was written by Emma Williams, Director of EJW Solutions Ltd.

www.ejwsolutions.co.uk @ejwsolutions

The views, opinions and positions expressed within these guest posts are those of the author alone and do not represent those of The Springboard Consultancy

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