Keren Paterson is a 2023 CEW scholar and attended INSEAD’s Advanced Management Program in France this year. Read about her amazing experience below:
Some of the most inspirational business leaders that have influenced my career are graduates of the INSEAD Advanced Management Program (AMP). They have led very different businesses, but they share an incredible leadership presence and possess exceptional strategic mindsets. I have long desired the opportunity to drink from the same Fontainebleau fountain!
If I were to use one word to describe the AMP it would be “incredible”. My first impression was awe, and this still hasn’t left me. I studied my undergraduate degree in a small university in a gold-mining town. Our class of 30 men and 2 women were studying to be engineers in the mining industry – possibly one of the least diverse university experiences you could find. INSEAD on the other hand showed us just what diversity truly looks like. We were 53 men and 26 women from 30 nationalities, residing in 28 countries and working in 24 different industries. The diversity of thought, culture and language was incredibly rich and the course was designed to immerse ourselves within this diversity yet at the same time see and appreciate the very similar challenges we all face.
From our first lesson, to the last, we were reminded that “Leadership is a Journey”. That there is no magic bullet, just a lifetime of self-reflection, visionary thinking and efficient execution. That often we will find ourselves with altitude sickness – stuck at one of these level for too long. And the need to develop the discipline to move beyond our comfort zones so that we can seamlessly shift between the altitudes to improve our businesses, leadership and personal capabilities.
For many of us, the most impactful session was the half-time lecture from an Olympic mind coach who instilled in us the concept of “Recovery is a part of the Salary”. As leaders we are paid to deliver results, but just like an electric vehicle, we need to maintain and regularly recharge our batteries. We need to do this to ensure we have the energy, strength and capability necessary to be the agile leaders we need to create and build the future.
My advice to any woman considering the application for a CEW scholarship is to be bold and go for it. Firstly, you cannot win a scholarship without first applying for it! But most importantly the scholarships CEW offers are life changing. The lessons, experiences, and the network you develop will be carried with you for the rest of your life. And the ripple effect you will have by bringing those learnings back into your lives – business and personal will enrich the experiences of all around you so that together we can create more agile, diverse and welcoming Australian businesses.
I feel so incredibly honoured to have been selected by CEW for this most prestigious scholarship. To attend the INSEAD AMP in Fonteainbleu France has been a long-held ambition and the timing of this opportunity was serendipitous. The lessons and the learnings I take away from this experience could not have been achieved in any other environment. The absolute immersion, the quality of the faculty and the exemplary peers make this course the most profound leadership developmental experience anyone could have.
Thank you to everyone involved who make these incredible opportunities available. I sincerely look forward to applying the learnings from the AMP and supporting other women to step up, be bold and be seen.