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Be kind and compassionate this Christmas

For me, Christmas is a time to connect with loved ones and forget about work. It’s also become a time for quiet reflection, looking back on this past year and looking forward to the next one. Taking walks outside in the fresh air and playing games with family and friends. Cooking hearty meals that are shared along with good conversation and laughter. It’s warm, fun, relaxed, playful and nourishing, in fact everything that exemplifies the best in life to me.

You’ve no doubt got your own version of what Christmas means to you and if like me, you’re lucky enough to have a home life that you cherish, you’ll be looking forward to the next few weeks. For others, Christmas is a very lonely, or stressful, or tense time that exemplifies what’s not working well in their life.

Wherever you are and whatever is going on in your life, my message to you this Christmas is simple...

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Gender Diversity (Part 2) - What part do you want to play?

First published in Business First, July 2014


By now I hope you understand a little more about second generation gender bias, from the research presented in last month’s edition in the article ‘Gender Diversity – Are you part of the problem?’.

I even hope you have tried the Implicit Association Test (IAT) from Harvard. Participants in a recent workshop (all women) who did the test were horrified to discover that they were guilty of bias towards other women!

And I wonder how concerned you are about the implications this has for your business, your daughters, your nieces, your grandchildren?  If you are like me, when I first researched all this, you might recognise the problems, even want to be part of the solution, but are at a loss as to how to address. If that is you, please read on.

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Gender Diversity (Part 1) - Are you part of the problem?

First published in Business First, May 2014


I get challenged a lot that women are no different from men and shouldn’t be treated any differently. Often not said as politely as this I might add!

I totally get it.  What might surprise you is that I actually agree. I too have always wanted to be treated the same.

Years ago I managed large scale software development programmes. I was good at it. I made things happen. I delivered.  At one point I had an opportunity to move into a people development role, an opportunity I grabbed with both hands. It was the right decision for me. I was at my best, never happier.

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Rapid Change Consultancy provides pro-bono coaching worldwide

First published in I0D News, May 2014

As part of last year's International Coaching Week, Anne Dargan of Rapid Change Consultancy offered pro-bono coaching to Concern Worldwide, the organisation that engages in long term development work, responds to emergency situations, and seeks to address the root cause of poverty through work with advocacy and development education.

A programme was subsequently developed whereby Concern's senior managers overseas would get access to professionally accredited coaches free of charge.

Concern's Country Directors and Assistant Country Directors manage local teams of up to 600 people. Working in countries such as Uganda, Ethipoia, Kenya to name a few, they face challenges many of us would find daunting in our home environments. Concern Worldwide's Chief Executive ominic MacSorley appreciates the help from Rapid Change: "Partnerships such as this help to ensure that Concern is achieving its mission of having a positive impact on the lives of poor communities right across the world."

Anne says, "It is a privilege to work with people who want to make such a positive difference in the world. We are pleased to be able to offer high end professional coaching where it is needed most".

Feedback from those benefitting has been extremely positive. So much so that Rapid Change has now brought together an extended team of 10 professionally certified coached as well as some coaches in training from across Ireland and the UK to support Concern's in-house management development programme.

Rapid Change Consultancy is a boutique organisational development consultancy which offers Executive Coaching to CEOs, Directors and their top teams.

You can contact Anne at or 07711 599091.




Effective Women on the Board

First published in I0D News, May/June 2014

Early in February an impressive line up of directors and senior partners from the public, legal, accountancy and arts sectors came together for the I0D workshop on How to be effective as a woman on the board or senior leadership team. Their aim was to figure out how to be even more effective than they already were! In the company of such high calibre women a presenter could be excused for wanting to take a class from them. It is therefore no accident that mutual support is at the heart of the RECIPRO programme for senior women, developed and delivered by Rapid Change Consultancy. 

RECIPRO workshops are research based, woven into the fabric of each programme without explicitly naming it. This workshop was different. The day started, uncharacteristically, with a ‘teaching’ session. The participants were on the edge of their chairs as they listened to the latest research - about second generation gender bias - and absorbed how it impacted on them. What was surprising was that although the participants hadn’t heard about it before,it really rang true for them.

When the participants were told how strategies exist to help them navigate their way through all this, there were visible sighs of relief. So the following session focused on how to manage second generation ender bias - which you might be surprised to learn, starts with you and your leadership purpose. Other aspects such as the importance of sponsorship were explored. The afternoon sessions focused on managing relationships more strategically and covered the organisational and political landscapes.


As always, discussion and interaction was a crucial key element. Sharing experiences and giving advice and support another. One of the participants said she would recommend the course to anyone in senior management or above to enhance their understanding of how to effect strategic leadership in an organisation.

Personally, I find it really inspiring to work with motivated, driven and successful women who want to be even more successful. This group, like previous attendees at the IoD workshops, have vowed to stay together as a group for a year-long programme.

Effective women: (back) Laura Jackson, Anne Dargan, Anne McReynolds, Jenny Ebbage, Dorcas Crawford, (front)Beveryley Harrison (sitting) and Pauline PootsWorking with other successful women keeps us on our tiptoes. They want to be challenged, given new things to think about so they can raise their game. The year ahead is set to be inspiring and fun!

For anyone who was disappointed to miss this workshop, it will be repeated in the autumn. Look out for details on @iodni, LinkedIn, online and in future issues of IoD Northern Ireland News.

Anne Dargan is an organisational development consultant and co-founder of RECIPRO.




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