Skip to content

Women in Leadership: Karen from Nottingham Women's Centre

Karen Feely, Operations Manager at Nottingham Women's Centre shares her experience of NTU's Women in Leadership course

Through the Priority Skills for D2N2 SMEs project*, Nottingham Trent University (NTU) is supporting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to access free bespoke, employer-led training, career coaching and advice to up-skill their employees in vocational and high-level technical skills.

NTU offer a free, 3-day course which is designed to help women in SMEs to develop their careers and their capability to manage and lead within their organisations.

This support is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund

Karen Feely1
Karen Feely, Operations Manager at Nottingham Women's Centre
Photo credit: Ursula Kelly Photography

Karen Feely, Operations Manager at Nottingham Women's Centre

Nottingham Women’s Centre is based on Chaucer Street in Nottingham city centre and is a community centre for women in various stages of their lives.

They provide a range of services to help women gain the skills and confidence to achieve their potential, become stronger and more independent in a safe and supportive environment.

Their services include support around finances and accommodation, and to build their work skills.

Karen Feely is the operations manager at the centre and is responsible for the delivery of a number of funded projects, including Help Through Crisis which supports women through financial crises, offering up-skilling opportunities. She also manages the Opportunity and Change project which provides training, education and work opportunities.

Karen has been with the organisation for around 10 years, and has been in her current role for the past three.

She originally heard about the course through a leaflet given to her from a university contact.

“I have been managing people for five or six years, and wanted to make sure I was doing the best I could for those people.

“The centre has grown massively in the last 10 years and I wanted to make sure my management style reflected our more professional way of doing things.”

When reflecting on her learnings, Karen took away a lot of new knowledge and has been able to implement plenty of changes in a short space of time.

“It’s so important for staff to feel that management cares about them. Even without the swanky resources and building, if they feel cared about, that makes all the difference.

“It was obvious that Suzanne [the course leader] knew exactly what she was talking about. Every session left me with something that I could use and improve in the organisation.

“I’ve helped to implement a process called ‘Managing You, Working With Me, Achieving Together’. It’s a series of five sessions where I’ll sit with my staff and try to understand the best ways of working together.

“I’ve even learned something new about someone I’ve been managing for the past three years and we’ve adapted our relationship to work in the best way together”.

As well as Karen, Nottingham Women’s Centre have had five line managers attend the course. She decided to write her post-course report about the change in culture of the centre having learned from the course what causes those changes.

“I’ve come up with six recommendations about what the organisation can do to continue their growth and change which I hope is going to make a big difference.

“Looking back, I can’t sing the praises of the course highly enough, it was brilliant. The additional offer of the career coaching was also fantastic and I’d say a vital part of the learning. I would really encourage anyone that has the opportunity to take up the offer.”

Interested in signing up?

The Women in Leadership course is running a number of cohorts throughout 2020. You can register your interest and a member of the team will be in touch to discuss eligibility and suitable dates.

You can also contact us via any of the below channels:

* The Priority Skills for D2N2 SMEs project is part-funded by the European Social Fund (ESF) and is part of the High Level Skills programme. The programme is delivered by NTU as part of the High Level Skills consortium which also includes Derby College, Nottingham College, the University of Derby, and Nottingham City Council.

Supporting social mobility and widening participation

NTU is at the forefront of social mobility. The university recruits a quarter of its home undergraduates from households with a combined income of £15,000 or less, and has an impressive graduate employment rate. The university is a signatory to the Social Mobility Pledge, and is also a co-lead on a national centre to research and develop best practices for universities on how to improve social mobility.

The Priority Skills for D2N2 SMEs project is also committed to supporting local people from under-represented groups including women, people with disabilities, BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) people, people aged 50 and over, and those who have not had access to traditional educational opportunities. Our Women in Leadership course is a contributing factor towards this.