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Leading with Leaders

1 Dec '23
2 minutes

Life has this funny way of surprising us when we take leaps of faith, embracing the unknown and diving headfirst into uncharted territories.

Back in September 2021, after two decades of dedicated service in the youth work sector, I decided it was time for a change. Stepping away without a clear plan for the future, I anticipated a few months of rest and soul-searching. Little did I know, within less than two weeks, Aspiring Heads received an innovation award from the Fair Education Alliance, propelling me into an exciting entrepreneurial journey.

The seeds of Aspiring Heads were planted during the 2020 pandemic. While my wife enjoyed maternity leave after welcoming our third son, and I found myself unexpectedly on furlough, we had a rare opportunity to step back, reflect, and engage with creativity.

As a leadership enthusiast still evolving, I understand that my actions matter—not just to others but, most importantly, to myself.

Ethan Bernard

Our passion for making a positive impact in people’s lives had always been a part of us. Yet, the idea of venturing into business together was a new thing. If there was ever a perfect time to launch Aspiring Heads, this was it.

Aspiring Heads is our response to the stark racial disparities in education, a realisation that struck during the lockdown. Nadine, my wife, being among the 1% of black headteachers in the UK, ignited a fire to address this statistic. While I questioned my role beyond supporting her in a sector I had not directly worked in before, I soon recognised the power of my own leadership capabilities.

Simon Sinek's wisdom echoes in my mind: “Leadership is not about being in charge. Leadership is about taking care of those in your charge.” This perspective clarified my vital role in creating an empowering and supportive learning environment, especially for black educators navigating daily challenges. 

As I journey through this process, I've rediscovered the leadership knowledge I possess, shaping my craft while embracing the joy of continuous learning. My experience and qualification as a mentor and executive coach have allowed me to journey alongside educators, providing personalised guidance and fostering a culture of continuous growth.

As a leadership enthusiast still evolving, I understand that my actions matter—not just to others but, most importantly, to myself.

So with that being said, my next challenge is shedding the comfort of being the silent force in the background. Leadership coach Michelle Raymond reminded me of the common phrase - ‘out of sight, out of mind.’ Realising the need to be visible, I invite you, the reader, to hold me accountable. Connect with me on LinkedIn, share what you'd like to know more about Ethan in 2024, or drop in a comment below.

Yours truly

Ethan Bernard


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