Future Leader Experience: From Programme Participant to Circl HQ
Last year, Lewis Prunty took part in our first virtual programme with our partners BenevolentAI. The programme proved life-changing for him in more ways than one. Following the programme he secured a job role at Circl HQ as a Programme Officer, becoming the first Future Leader to officially join the team. In this blog, Lewis shares his first-hand experience of the Circl coaching programme and how it's helped his academic and professional goals.
My introduction to the Circl programme came during the first lockdown. The programme was advertised to me through a friend and after some research, I was excited by the prospect of what an amazing opportunity this could be. I had some doubts, as the virtual experience at university gave me the perception that an online environment would struggle to be engaging. But despite this, I still had high expectations and went into the programme with an open mind.
My high expectations were met straight away. I participated in the first ever virtual programme with Benevolent AI, a global leader in developing artificial intelligence to generate new medicines. The sessions work by teaching coaching to two radically different groups; the professionals and the Future Leaders. You then get to practice the skills you’ve learnt in a one-to-one with your Circl match (a professional and a Future Leader that are paired together at the start of the programme). Previous perceptions I had of experienced professionals were rapidly swept away with the powerful coaching foundation of equality between coach and coachee. Regardless of our youth and inexperience, as Future Leaders we were put on a level footing with the professionals.
Like all other participants on the Circl programme, my match and I were an excellent fit. The level of trust and openness we had when coaching each other was great. It provided order, structure and motivation, in what was a very unstructured lockdown. The greatest part was witnessing the outcomes for me and my match, which no doubt was aided through our coaching conversations. For my match this was no less than a promotion at work, while among some of the biggest personal outcomes for me was enhanced organisation and improved university grades. I still make extensive weekly plans to ensure I have a firm outlook on the week ahead, and my approach to assignments at university has bumped me up to achieving 1st’s. The biggest benefit for me was attaining a job, at a company no less than Circl themselves!
Being the first Future Leader member of the Circl team has been powerful. My position as a Programme Officer means that I get to see programmes from the other side, crafting the pairings for programmes, making breakouts during the sessions, as well as building out new processes and documents for use in all aspects of our start-up. I am certainly more busy than the average person my age, studying whilst working an important job at Circl. However the busyness has facilitated a great structure, and a very productive use of my time which is an excellent experience for my future.
I couldn’t be happier at Circl. I’ve always wished to work in an industry making a critical difference and Circl has permitted me to experience this goal already. We employ a powerful and excellent mission, where we directly see underrepresented young people and professionals progress and develop in life. Little did I know that I would be able to fulfil some of my long term goals at this early stage in young adulthood.
Head here to learn more about the Future Leaders that we work with and how the two-way programme works.