From waiting in the wings to taking centre stage

How to shine as a female leader

Can you imagine how it felt to be actor Steph Parry last month? For those who missed it, Steph was an understudy for the West End musical, 42nd Street.  She was back stage when she heard that Mamma Mia’s female lead had fallen on stage and was unable to continue.  What’s worse, her understudy was ill.  Mamma Mia was going to be cancelled mid show.  That was until Steph raced through the few streets separating their theatres and offered to step in.   You see, a year earlier Steph had played that Mamma Mia part on a cruise ship, it wasn’t exactly the same but she was confident she could step up to save the day.  And she did.  Indeed, she shone so brightly that this week she takes the lead from Lulu in 42nd Street. 

Steph’s story is particularly inspiring to many women in business, because they can relate to it.  They all too often also possess the capability and talent to take centre stage and lead yet are being kept waiting in the wings.  Steph saw an opportunity and she seized it.  She must have known her performance wouldn’t be perfect but she bravely stepped out to put herself in the spotlight. 

Commanding the spotlight and taking the lead isn’t easy, particularly for women who have already reached a certain level of seniority within their career.  At ‘Women Ahead and Moving Ahead’ we recognise that women can find it difficult to step forward and give themselves permission to progress to the highest levels of business.  That’s why we’ve established #LEAD – the first of its kind leadership excellence and development programme.  It’s specifically designed for senior women looking for a secure space, expert insights and the long-term support they need to truly become who they want to be as a leader. 

Designed by Women Ahead with Google’s former EMEA Head of People Development, Charlotte Monico, this unique programme provides both the inspiration and support, for female talent to grow.  It kicks off with a three-day residential, followed by nine months of triad-mentoring with peers from other industries, and unprecedented personal access to world-class experts. 

Only 18 places, for 18 senior women, from 18 different companies, are available in the programme’s inaugural intake.  The cross-company aspect is a key component to provide participants with a completely safe space to talk openly about the experiences and challenges they face. 

If Steph Parry’s story teaches us anything, it is that when women give themselves the permission and create the space to focus their attention on seizing opportunities - the results can be extraordinary.  So don’t miss this brilliant opportunity to be (or develop) the female leadership talent in your organisation.  Take a look at our short film here, download our brochure here or contact  to secure your place before the #LEAD application window closes early next month.