When Angela Geddes was invited, in early 2018, to be part of the pilot cohort for Susan’s 12-hour Make Your Mark programme, she didn’t know what to expect. Back then, she was Head of the firm’s Regulatory Developments, Projects and Advisory team.
Now promoted to Director of Operations Programmes, Angela still regularly uses her Make Your Mark toolkit, and champions Make Your Mark within in the firm.
Here is Angela, talking to Baillie Gifford Online Editor Chiara Pannozzo-McBryde about her Make Your Mark experience.
How did you find out about Make Your Mark?
In 2018, having just been promoted, I was advised that the course could be beneficial to me as I took on more responsibility. I was keen to develop my management and leadership skills and felt that Make Your Mark would provide learnings that would help me to achieve that goal.
Going into the programme, what were your expectations?
It was a new development programme for Baillie Gifford, so I had no preconceptions and nobody to ask
about what to expect. But I was very open-minded. The pilot cohort was for women only. Getting to know other women in the business and working with Susan was an interesting proposition.
What was your experience of taking part in Make Your Mark?
Make Your Mark focuses on four key areas: managing the inner critic (mindset); building and maintaining confidence and presence (body); speaking with confidence (speech) and active listening and voice skills (voice). The first session was thought-provoking and quite emotional. We were asked to write down how we thought other people perceived us, which made me realise I had built up a negative view of how people saw me. Susan encouraged me to reflect on this and question my thinking. Since taking part in Make Your Mark, I’ve been able to challenge my inner critic, rather than allow it to take hold.
What did you get out of the programme?
It made me question my thinking around how I think I’m perceived by others and the impact that has on me. I left equipped with tools to tackle difficult conversations and daunting situations. In my role, I often present to senior people in the firm. I now take the time to be equal in the room and if asked challenging questions, I don’t feel pressured to provide an answer on the spot. I can take the time to reflect. I’ve also used the techniques I learned with my team, having constructive dialogue in order to achieve positive outcomes.
Did you discover anything about yourself that you didn’t already know?
I realised that I’m too hard on myself. Make Your Mark encouraged me to see how much I care about people and the benefits that come from sharing the learnings with my team, to help us all to have better conversations. I have further developed my confidence as a result.
What was the most useful learning you took from Make Your Mark?
To never underestimate the power of your inner critic. If you don’t get a handle on it, it could easily
hold you back.
Would you recommend Make Your Mark to others?
I would recommend it with the caveat that to get the most out of it, you have to bring your whole self to
the programme. You also need to practice what you learn in order to develop. If you’re willing to do that, I have no doubt that you will come away with tools and techniques that will support you in your professional life and beyond.
“To get the most out of it you have to bring your whole self to the Make Your Mark programme. You also need to practice what you learn in order to develop."
Angela Geddes, Baillie Gifford