“Go in with an open mind, be ready for anything and remember it’s not just you having to go through this – there is a team there with you.”
That’s the advice Catherine Saganic offers her colleagues who are about to pack their bags and head for the Outward Bound school in Anakiwa.
The Assurity Consulting Operations and People Manager challenged herself both mentally and physically “like never before” when she participated in an Outward Bound Women in Leadership course.
“By attending a professional course aligned with my personal development plan,” says Catherine, “I hoped I’d gain more confidence in both myself and my abilities as a leader through learning by doing, rather than sitting in the office or a classroom.”
Throughout the country, Assurity’s teams work with organisations to deliver sustainable and strategic changes in technology. Part of Catherine’s role at Assurity sees her working with five consultants on their development, feedback and coaching. “As People Manager I support and coach my team in a holistic way,” she says.
At Outward Bound, facilitated sessions enable participants to “unpack” and debrief what they’d been through, and discover their learnings from situations and how they might apply them to their workplaces.
“I learned new leadership strategies that I was able to apply in our very fast-paced work environment. Outward Bound allowed me to gain perspective and look at situations in my workplace differently, more of a ‘helicopter’ view. I am far less caught up in the details and more focused on outcomes now and I’m able to consider others’ views and ways of working. I have also come away with practical tools and a new coaching model I now use when working with my people.”
Catherine says the solo experience - where each watch member is left alone in a bush setting for 24 hours - was the highlight for her, although she confesses to initially feeling very anxious about it.
“As soon as I got into the bush I absolutely loved it. I felt like I was able to really switch off and spend time with myself, which is not something I have ever been able to do – even when on holiday! I came out of it much calmer and felt like I could have stayed alone longer. Instead of panicking, I flourished. It showed me that I am able to handle any situation and that there is no need to stress unnecessarily.”
“I give the Outward Bound experience 10 out of 10. It changed me personally and professionally. I think the value gained from the course will continue to show as I grow and develop as a leader and will be an experience that I will always remember and refer back to.
“The Women in Leadership course was an experience that is so hard to articulate to people who haven’t been - it was completely life-changing.”