Tags:VolunteersKickstart Your Strategy

3 min read

Critical friendship: Alex Davids on the volunteer experience of Kickstart Your Strategy

A principal's strategic plan is just the first step on a much longer journey. Breaking the plan down into what they will do on a week-to-week basis, who will take responsibility for what, how to know what's on track – it is these details that form the basis of a school’s progress.  

That’s the focus of our Kickstart Your Strategy workshops – helping school leaders turn their long-term vision and planning into manageable, measurable actions. And, as with all the work we do under our unique cross-sector model, it relies on the invaluable contributions of our expert volunteers.  

For some more insight into how volunteers contribute to the Kickstart Your Strategy workshops, we spoke with someone who’s been there and done that – Alex Davids, from Next Evolution Performance!   

A simple shift of skills 

Having worked in our Springboard Coaching for Leadership programme previously, Alex has a firm understanding of the work Springboard does with school leaders. And as she points out, moving into the ‘Critical Friend’ role for Kickstart Your Strategy was a simple shift.  

“Like with the previous work I had done, you don’t have to know the education sector to provide value. [The KYS workshop] is about offering critical thinking, time, support and that alternative perspective to the school leaders.”  

“Everyone involved at the school level is so passionate, you obviously don’t get into it if you don’t care a massive deal. But that energy can mean school leaders lose some perspective, they have to be everything to everyone – so getting to provide that ‘Critical Friend’ support, I think, was really helpful for helping them break down the details of their strategic plan.”  

“It’s a really clear structure for the session, and with only half a day there’s a bit of time pressure compared to SLPP – it helped us all make intuitive decisions that I’d love to have the chance to see rolled out. After a year of mostly working remotely, it’s also so nice to be in the room with the people you’re working with!”  

The learning continues 

For Alex, Springboard Trust offers an opportunity to volunteer in a way that aligns with her skill set – but also fuels her own learning.  

“Serendipitously, I had recently joined the school board where I live, so I was really excited to get involved in Kickstart to keep my insight into schools going.”  

“It’s also a perfect fit for someone like me, who works in the business coaching area. A lot of people in my sector want to volunteer, but it can be hard to find opportunities that line up with our skill set. Volunteering with Springboard slots perfectly into what I’m already doing and helps me learn at the same time as the school leaders.” 

“I’m hugely impressed by everyone involved in Kickstart Your Strategy and Springboard more generally. Giving back to communities is an important element of being part of the wider world, and it’s such a positive experience for everyone involved. I can’t recommend it enough!”  

Springboard Trust's Kickstart Your Strategy workshops are running throughout March this year. If you'd like to volunteer as a Critical Friend, get in touch with your Programme Manager!

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