Tell us a bit more about your role at Channel 4?

I work in the Talent and Development function as the Learning and Development manager.

I drive the L&D strategy for C4 ranging from soft/technical skills in specific departments, to C4 wide development initiatives such as; raising management/leadership capability, talent management, providing career support, coaching and mentoring.

It’s very varied but all the development initiatives support our strategic aims and our remit.

You mentioned your role is very varied but what do you love most?

The role is so diverse in terms of the projects that I work on, so each day is different which makes it exciting.

I also love how the work I do supports C4’s strategic outcome and the remit being a public broadcaster – making a difference is what we stand for.

I very much enjoy working with others on projects that require high collaboration and bring cross-functional teams together. It allows for diverse viewpoints, creativity and leveraging different resources from each other. At times brings its challenges too, but that is all part of learning, growing your skills and working together.

Could you tell us what else you work on besides Channel 4, what else keeps you busy in your working life?

Coaching others and within my networks. I am an accredited Coach and now want to take my credentials further, which means practicing and logging hours. So, any opportunity I find, I try and coach others to practice and refine my skills and support them through a designed alliance.

Do you think being a woman in your industry has been of significance (positive or negative) or do you not think it has played any role?

I don’t think it has played a role if I am honest. HR/Learning roles typically attract females by nature, and I think it is more on the capability, experience and potential that I bring and how I contribute to initiatives going forward. 

We know Channel 4 have invested in women’s development, can you tell us more?

Yes of course.

I led and launched the RISE programme for 200+ female staff in 2018.

This project represented a major investment for us on the back of reporting on our gender pay gap results. We wanted some real, powerful and measurable outcomes:

• Create a powerful collective of 200+ women ready to support each other and drive impact through the business 

• Ensure line managers understood the role they play in developing female talent and being advocates for them 

• Give participants the support they needed to feel motivated and energised to own their careers, take control of their futures and actively set their sights on achieving greater seniority 

• Create real and sustainable cultural change – by leveraging internal support and sponsorship

We created three distinct cohorts, to ensure we made an impact at all levels of the business:

  • – this was a group of 16 women who were already top female leaders in the business and who as well as benefitting directly from the programme, could also drive a ripple effect throughout Channel 4 and act as future coaches and mentors for women across the channel 
  • – this was a group of 50 future female leaders who we were looking to inspire and motivate to play a bigger game for themselves and for Channel 4, by building a movement of influential women who could create the change they wanted to see
  • – this was the largest group of 150 women who wanted a roadmap for behaviours, and attitudes that would allow them to go big and not be afraid to ask for it

Our early results have been:

100% of our Role Models feel more confident about stretching their comfort zones

88% of our Catalysts feel able to apply what they learnt to their jobs

75% of our Energisers feel they have a better sense of how to use their strengths in the future

We have had two promotions and one secondment in the first two months of running the programme.

You mention your role models feel more confident about stretching their comfort zones. How do you think more women can be comfortable in their own skin and have more confidence at work?

Knowing who you are and what you bring to the table can really help with confidence building. It’s important that we as women heighten our self-awareness in how we use and play to our strengths in various situations and knowing how to flex them as every situation and interaction can be different.

Also, important to seek feedback and asking for it in a timely manner. Feedback is a gift, you can either take it or not and you don’t always need to agree with it. But, it will give you an insight into how you are perceived by others and this is just the patterns of behaviours that you display. Once you know this, you can use this to navigate any relationships and deepen rapport, engagement with others (especially senior stakeholders).

Raising your ‘Personal Power’ and taking sole responsibility for your outcomes. This can be so uplifting and empowering and totally places you in the driving seat for the outcomes that you want for yourself. 

It’s really about heightened self-awareness and being truly honest with yourself on what triggers you and chips at your confidence and then finding strategies to overcome this so you are ‘bouncing forward’. It may be that you need to form new habits to shift/quieten the inner-critic in you so you propel forward and holding on to your personal power whilst growing confidence and maintaining resilience.

Do you have a particular role model?

I have had great and successful female figures around me but cannot say there is one person that I look up to or a famous role model as such.

However, I must say I was fortunate enough to have great male bosses throughout my early career at Nike who very much championed me, sponsored me and made time to give me regular feedback and work with me on my career aspirations. They very much remain in my current network and are my go to people.

What would you say drives you and gets you out of bed?

Purpose – Being a driven action orientated person, I function well when I have goals that I set for myself. I like to visualise and work with the end in mind. It is the only way I can function, and it has never let me down!

It’s very much how I am in all aspects of my life. I like having something to aim for and more importantly being completely in charge of how I am going to get there.

Excellence – this is one of my key values and most certainly one of my main drivers. If I am going to put my all into something, then I want to ‘autograph my work with excellence’!

This might seem like a very high bar, but it helps me to have this as a personal goal as it’s my very own motivational driver and works with my ethos of always self-improving. 

Leading – I love working on organizational projects where I can shape and lead the development initiatives knowing that I am making a difference and an impact.

What does success mean to you?

When I know wholeheartedly I have achieved what I set out to do with my desired outcomes be it big or small. If it’s in a work context – then it would be when others can really value the contribution that I have made and the impact that it has had with proven results.

For me personally – it’s when I have really played to my strengths and put my very own stamp on something that I can say that I led or was part of.

Thank you for reading, we hope you enjoyed this week’s Courageous Conversation blog post and thank you Shetel for joining us.

Shetel was recently on Paul Brewerton’s podcast, The Strengths Guy, discussing everything from building your leadership skills, raising your own self-awareness and embracing your core values and strengths. So if you want to hear more from the lovely Shetel take a listen here. 

If you want to know more about the courageous conversation then check out our post here for a bit of background into why we started the series.