1156. Verena Hefti
Verena Hefti, from Lewisham, is the founder of ‘Leaders Plus’, which supports talented leaders with young children progress their careers through professional development, consultancy and access to mentoring and networks.
After becoming a mother herself, Verena set up ‘Leaders Plus’ to help new parents stay on the leadership trajectory. She is determined to demonstrate that new parents do not have to choose between their career and parenthood, but can do both. In 2017, ‘Leaders Plus’ launched a nine-month Fellowship Programme, that combines eight events and workshops to build confidence and career skills with a senior leader mentor, career acceleration support and maternity/paternity support interventions. Fellows can bring their babies to all sessions. The first pilot was heavily oversubscribed, with 58 applications for 15 spaces, highlighting the need for support of this kind. As a result Verena has decided to expand her programme into multiple cohorts, and is currently taking applications for ‘Leaders with Babies Fellowship 2019’, which was launched at an event at the House of Commons attended by her local MP Tulip Siddiq in March (pictured below).
In a personal letter to Verena, Prime Minister Theresa May said:
“Drawing on your own experience, you are inspiring others to combine parenthood and their careers. Through ‘Leaders Plus’ you have created an innovative way of helping talented leaders with young children realise their potential and I wish you the best in your continued work.”
Tulip Siddiq, MP for Hampstead and Kilburn, said:
“This is a very well deserved award for Verena. She’s shown immense dedication and passion in promoting the work of parents across different sectors. We need more people like Verena in our community.”
Janet Daby, MP for Lewisham East, said:
“It was a huge pleasure to hear about Verena’s award for her voluntary work through her ‘Leader Plus’ project. What an outstanding achievement and what a great idea. We need more women leaders and it’s good to hear that projects like this are recognised.”
“I am thrilled to have received this award on behalf of so many other ‘Leaders with Babies’ and our amazing Fellows. Every day, they are changing the paradigm that you shouldn’t have to choose between being ambitious in your leadership career and being an engaged and loving parent to your young children.”