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Rachel James, Executive Director, Shareholder Executive, Department for Business Innovation and Skills

Rachel started her career as a corporate lawyer with Herbert Smith, and went on to become In-house Counsel and Chief Operating Officer of a private equity fund. She now works for the Shareholder Executive (a part of BIS which acts as an effective shareholder of government-owned businesses), and is a Non-Executive Board Member for the Insolvency Service.

“My COO role came fairly early on in my career, so back then I didn’t think I had enough experience to be a "leader". However, looking back at the decisions I made and actions I took, I tried to set a good example, to be clear about my vision, and to be authentic. I don’t think my approach has changed that much, but nowadays I try to be much more aware of my role as a leader, and am more conscious of how others perceive me.”

Cross-sector learning

Meeting and learning alongside a range of different people was key to Rachel’s experience.

“I met people from the private, public and third sectors. It’s fair to generalise and say that my course-mates were open and receptive, as well as really caring about, and being committed to, becoming better leaders. The course has really broadened my horizons and opened up a whole new network for me, which I have continued to use regularly since taking part in the course.”

Being a better leader

The impact on both Rachel and her organisation has been immense.

“Undoubtedly; it had such an impact on me that my changed approach and increased confidence reads across to all I do at work. I regularly draw on my Windsor Leadership experiences, both personally, and to help others with challenges they face both in and outside of the workplace.”

The ongoing journey with Windsor Leadership

And her journey with Windsor Leadership did not end after she completed the programme.

“I became a Windsor Advocate as I believe strongly in their ethos and wanted to support them in their ongoing work. I have attended various Breakfast Briefings and will continue to do so: Windsor Leadership Trust has the kudos to obtain outstanding speakers, who speak honestly about their experiences, and from whom I know I will continue to learn a huge amount."