The Self Leadership Initiative works with organisations of all shapes and sizes within the Charity, Education and Corporate sectors; the defining attribute that links clients together is their dedication to trying new approaches to developing their people. Self led teams are incredibly powerful and, it might be said one day, world changing.

To make the job of providing a business case back to your organisation for investing in self leadership training for your team and to give you more of an insight into The Self Leadership Initiative experience, check out these client stories.


Following a recommendation from a colleague, Muna approached The Self Leadership Initiative in Autumn 2017 to discuss her vision: Refugees as Rebuilders. She was already piloting parts of the programme and wanted to create a more robust curriculum covering dialogue, leadership and sustainable living skills so that refugees would be empowered to support their communities.

“The Self Leadership Initiative has contributed immensely to, not only the facilitation of the workshop, but the development of the Ethical Leadership Module. What we have now is excellent – it is what we are trade marking for our programme curriculum and will form a future skills transfer model. The SLI has been a diligent training provider; they are very supportive to participants and the development of the faculty team.”

The Self Leadership Initiative was tasked with heading up the ‘Ethical Leadership’ module of the programme. The programme began with the essentials of what it means to be a leader and reflecting on personal values, progressed to the nitty gritty skills of project management and handling conflict in leadership scenarios; then prepared participants the delivery of community projects. It was essential to balance getting people to apply their learning to their personal contexts whilst maintaining a safe and nurturing space.

– Programme Manager, Refugees as Rebuilders

The Self Leadership Initiaitve has the unique ability to communicate complex and life changing information in a simple, understandable and FUN form. If you employ people whose skills and qualities you wish to develop or if you desire personal development, the SLI workshops WILL deliver measurable improvements.

– Jane Swain, Workplace Mediator

I got in touch with The Self Leadership Initiaitve to enquire about a team building day for some Y12 students I work with. The SLI was receptive to all the needs and aims for my session and put together a bespoke package, of both practical and table based activities to keep the students engaged and also made sure they came out of the session having learnt and gained something from the day. The feedback from the students was very positive. I would definitely use the SLI for future team building days with my students.

 – Becky Haire, Widening Participation Officer, The University of Sheffield


Tutors and centre managers at The Sheffield College were keen to find a way to help students make a smooth transition from school life to a more independent form of learning whilst also providing employability opportunities for their career paths. The Self Leadership Initiative was asked to develop a Programme of training over a number of weeks so that students would have space to explore new skills, apply them and reflect on their progress as they went.

“I was pleased we had the opportunity to offer a Leadership Programme to our learners here at Peaks College. I can see that it has given many of the participants increased self esteem and confidence. It is a challenging experience for the students and enables and empowers their growth as young learners – but it delivers this in a non threatening environment thanks to The Self Leadership Initiative team.”

Our curriculum focused on building student confidence through teamwork activities on understanding the self, problem solving games and presentation skills. This was paired with lots of opportunity for the young people to reflect on their career goals and self motivation to help them on the next stage of their learning journey.

– Pro Tutor, The Sheffield College

I feel more in touch with who I am and where I’m going. I now know what to do when I feel stuck on decisions.

– Laura Noble, Digital Artist


Overseeing a team of staff, Doug recognised the increasing number of conversations his team were having with students around careers advice, interpersonal conflict and initial mental health concerns. Although individual members of the team had expertise, he wanted to make sure that every touch point in The Union would provide a safe, supportive and excellent service for students. He engaged The Self Leadership Initiative to support his mission.

“We have been working with Gemma for a number of years now and she always delivers great sessions. Gemma listens to what we are trying to achieve and is very good at understanding her training audience. Gemma’s approach to training delivery is refreshing and truly engages people and getting them to absorb the content.”

It was quickly identified that the priority was developing staff confidence around coaching and the skills of moving students away from ruminating and on to action. The training day designed and delivered to the group at Hallam focused on practical coaching skills. The detailed paired work gave the team opportunities to explore the effect of different types of questioning, chunking and action planning tools on each other. Lots of rounds of reflection and feedback was included which proved so beneficial, it was built into the Hallam team’s internal CPD.

– Head of Student Opportunities, Sheffield Hallam Student Union

The workshop worked for me at a subtle level. Though I knew things cognitively, now I have more awareness of them in my life… I learned a different facilitation style which is being more intentional about the questions you ask, the language that you use and being present and observant of various dynamics.

– Sagar Gangurde, Director of Indian Programmes at Seeds of Peace

It made me think about a better way of rearranging my inner self. I am going to rewrite what is a priority and what is urgent to me.

– Mariam Suliman, Health Practitioner


Lucile stumbled across The Self Leadership Initiative after a gratitude workshop caught her eye online. Lucile was putting together a pool of experts in all aspects of wellbeing in order to advocate for the importance of effective wellbeing embedded in corporate life. She already had a range of masseurs, nutritionists and yoga instructors – but wanted to bring in professional development skills too.

“Working with Gemma has been a great pleasure. We have worked together on a few different projects, bringing Resilience and Gratitude workshops to workplaces. Gemma manages to easily adapt to the audience and designs interactive and impactful content. The feedback from attendees has always been very positive.”

In collaboration with Lucile, The Self Leadership Initiative created a portfolio of lunchtime tasters and short workshops that would help people “dip their toe in the water” and see the uplifting impact a short session can make. It was felt that breaking away from the ‘office vibe’ was important and that people should get the chance to play, journal, open up and come away with action plans that they could implement straight away.

– Director, Mind It

The Self Leadership Initiative worked with us to create a team building day that fitted the specific needs of our Officer team. It was reassuring to see that delivery was centred around hands-on, practical activities which complemented our in-house training nicely.

– Lloyd Clark, Deputy Support & Development Manager, University of Leicester Students’ Union


“In the context of an international event gathering over 300 people, where half participants were under 18 years old, we needed to equip 10 pairs of children and adults who have never met before with facilitation skills. This would allow them to run daily 1 to 2 hour sessions with a regular ‘community group’ of conference participants.

The Self Leadership Initiative devised and facilitated a bespoke learning process that enabled both young people and adults to acquire the necessary skills. The young people received online coaching and webinars prior to the event, with face-to-face training at the main event. Then the SLI ran a joint face to face session for young people and adults (in their working pairs) where they consolidated their skills and planned their co-facilitation activities.

The outcome was very effective both in terms of the level of skill and confidence acquired by children and adults in such a short preparation time, and ultimately from the degree of satisfaction expressed by participants in the community groups.”

– Director for Programmes & Learning, Learning for Wellbeing

It really makes you think and reflect on yourself. It makes you think about who you want to be, who you are and sets you up on your way to taking action and becoming a self-leader.

– Arshad Mozumder, Student

Starting from the self made me think about my own approach to leading & managing issues. I have a lot to work on to disentangle things within the self. I am going to connect individual virtues and principles to everything I do.

– Amanuel Woldesus, Integration Manager


For many Student Unions the Covid-19 pandemic meant a drastic change to student interaction was needed and a focus on wellbeing more important than ever.

“We hold a mental health week each year and arrange it to fall at the same time as students are gearing up for final submission of the year and the main exam period. This year, due to the Covid-19 pandemic we expected to cancel the week however, following a discussion with The Self Leadership Initiative about their virtual activities we, we decided to go ahead.

The SLI delivered three sessions for us on Understanding Self-Motivation, Mindful Time Management & Tools for Resilience. All three sessions ran extremely well. The trainer was very competent at the virtual delivery and made everyone feel at ease from the outset. The content was informative and relevant.

Communicating with the SLI before, during and after the sessions was quick and easy. I would highly recommend the SLI as a training provider and I’m hoping to engage their services again in the future.”

– Student Wellbeing & Resilience Manager, Northumbria Students’ Union

The Self Leadership Initiative provided a great programme where leadership is stripped down to its fundamental essentials and builds from the ground up…Techniques from reading and portraying the right body language, to the importance of tone and the roles people play in group dynamics have helped me become a far more effective communicator, leader and most importantly team member.

– Clive Matthews, Researcher

I’ll take away the importance of encouraging collaboration towards a common goal rather than acting as two teams. I will go over the head, heart and hand information when someone explains their conflict. I loved how interactive it was and how I got to work with everyone in the room.

– Sally Carter, Societies Coordinator


As the founder of a charity, Rumbi is personally invested in the excellence of her staff and volunteers who work in youth development. Having experience The Self Leadership Initiative’s training approach on another project she sought out bespoke sessions to build the practical confidence and competence of her team.

“Our youth leaders attended safeguarding, understanding conflict and conflict resolution training delivered by The Self Leadership Initiative, who is now our training delivery partner. The sessions were full of insightful nuggets that enabled our staff to tackle safeguarding matters and conflict that arose amongst young people with confidence. The sessions are very engaging and have a good balance of theories and practical scenarios which enabled the staff to implement in their day to day role. One of the highlights in our session was the delivery team not shying away from difficult questions.”

Many staff have gone through the motions and read the paperwork when it comes to safeguarding and conflict. Rather than repeat the policy, the focus here was providing challenging and varied scenarios for the team to work through to build their confidence. By identifying the issues, the procedures that needed to be followed and the pastoral care and internal challenges that come with difficult situations, the team felt much more prepared for their role.

– Founder, African Youth Arise

I had the chance to think about how to deal with difficult situations, challenging behaviours and how I can approach students better. I will use these skills when I am delivering workshops as a student trainer.

– Kamila Bashir, Student Peer Trainer


Students across the reigon were invited to take part in an enterprise challenge; designing, making and project managing a product or service. The programme lasted a number of weeks and required mentorship from real-world industries.

“The Self Leadership Initiative was passionate about mentoring and working with a group of students from Horizon Community College. The commitment to our students was incredible; offering advice, experience and knowledge of business was critical to them driving their idea. The outcome was a very successful one too, the students managed to get to the final stages of a business competition and they even made it into the top 10 best businesses. They attended an award and were nominated for various categories. Having the SLI as their mentor was definitely the catalyst for their continued hard work throughout the challenge. I would happily work with the SLI again without question.”

Throughout the challenge The Self Leadership Initiative provided personal coaching to allow students to grow and develop their own ideas interspersed with professional skills such as giving presentations, persuasive language for sales and time management in the context of a project.

– Teacher, Horizon Community College

The Self Leadership Initiative shows individuals how they can achieve their potential by applying these techniques to every aspect of their lives.

– James Cribb, Specialist Academic Mentor


Every year Rebecca is responsible for induction training for the new Student Officers at Brunel University. This involves an induction programme of policy, procedures, skill development and personalised CPD that is implemented with time and care. Rebecca sees the value of bringing in external trainers so that the team experience different delivery styles.

“The Self Leadership Initiative is great to work with. We have an honest conversation about the problems that have arisen over the year, and a training session that helps tackle those issues in a constructive and fun way is then developed. The training style is interactive, and encourages participants to reflect on the activities and draw their own conclusions. It’s the perfect style of training for the young adults we are developing.”

Although the broad topics of leadership and effective teamwork stay the same, The Self Leadership Initiative is able to bring in new scenarios each year to maintain variety and demonstrate the kinds of challenges that previous officers have faced. By exploring and unpicking these in depth, the team develops a strong sense of how they naturally respond, what their strengths are and the areas they will need to continue to develop with Rebecca over the rest of their training time.

– Student Voice Manager, The Union of Brunel Students

The Self Leadership Initiative has taught me about the behaviours and characteristics of myself and others. This has helped me understand my own and colleagues actions, making me a better, more thoughtful team member. The programme has also helped build my confidence in public speaking and given me techniques to use in the future. Looking back over my notes from the training, which are neatly printed out for us, I have realised that the material covered in the training should be revisited again and again, as there is so much to gain from it.

– David Buxton, Teacher

I took away understanding of conflict hooks and how to collaborate to reach a common goal. I will be less drawn into conflict and understand how to resolve an issue.

– Ben Sewell, Pensions Administrator


Panisha manages a team of youth leaders in her faith community alongside other aspects of community engagement, event planning and internal training. She sought out an external training provider to both lighten the load and get her team working at a higher standard.

“Developing a group of young people makes a huge difference when the learnings are influencing both themselves and the community around them. After The Self Leadership Initiative Training, a positive ripple effect occurred from both the skills that were developed and the way the team collaborated through the planning process and delivering content. This then helped our senior leadership team to take a step back and focus on other things knowing that certain projects were in capable hands thus helping us to work better together without overburdening ourselves due to lack of skilled competencies within the group. It was delightful seeing the new youth leaders really embrace the development of each other and work hard to continue on this journey, knowing that the final output and impact will continue to thrive.”

The SLI provided online coaching workshops covering the key aspects of being a youth leader; coaching, facilitation, pacing, session planning, using online tools, managing behaviour and always knowing the outcomes of learning. What was especially practical was applying the training content directly to the youth leaders’ upcoming lessons and then evaluating them next time to foster peer collaboration.

– Youth Leader, Team Lead

This changes you as a person and your outlook on life for the better.

– Ryan Pickersgill, College Student


“I have known and have been working with The Self Leadership Initiative for almost 5 years on a now completed project, CATS conference (Children as Actors for Transforming Society) Program. One of the most unique attributes of CATS is the fact that it was co-led, designed and run by Adults and Children together. In light of this, an important goal was making sure that we provided the young people with additional training and skills that would empower them to take a leading role in the implementation and facilitation of the forum.

The Self Leadership Initiative has been responsible for the capacity building of the young people over the past years and has incredible ability to design and deliver fun, interesting and innovative workshops that teach young people how to take complex situations and break them down so that they become manageable.

The dedication to creating holistic and activity-based training has helped many of the young people involved in CATS unlock their potential by developing the soft skills they needed to be able to be truly engaged in the forum. Many found themselves standing up in front of large groups and facilitating for the first time. The sessions they experienced and the skills taught by the SLI will also clearly help them to be more successful in their work, study and personal lives way beyond their experience with the CATS initiative.”

– Chief Operations Officer, Learning for Wellbeing