Recognising my Leadership Potential

My Saltire experience allowed me to learn about the railway but also set me on a journey where I learned more about myself and my potential. At the start of the internship, I set myself the goal of improving my concise communication. From sitting in on the daily morning calls, my line manager and other industry professionals inspired me by demonstrating how efficient a meeting could be by knowing what information other team members needed to hear and focusing on the key points. My manager helped me to achieve my goal by consistently encouraging, challenging and allowing me to speak up in meetings and report on the progress of my project. This practice led to me being able to summarise my overall Saltire experience in a 5-minute presentation that I delivered confidently to the executive team at Scotland's Railway.

The most notable impact this programme has had on me is helping me to overcome my imposter syndrome and recognise my leadership potential. Through the support of my team and advice from Lisa Thomson's Zoom, I was able to change my mindset and make the most of my internship opportunity. I didn't realise how far I had progressed until week 8 of my internship when I volunteered at the UCI World Cycling Championships, where I was on a team with no team leader. While we waited for our team leader, I took the initiative to find our sector area and stepped up to inform and organise my team of the plan. Once the team leader arrived, I was able to fill them in and continued to assist them for the rest of the day. I realised I was fuelled by the confidence and self-belief I had developed throughout the internship. I was by far the youngest in the team, and where before I would have used that as an excuse, I refused to let that stop me from using my skills and experience to make a difference.

Written by: Hannah Paton