Khizra Dhindsa, a course participant, wrote to me about what's happened since she came on a two day course last year. It's a remarkable story that she has given me permission to share. I feel very proud of her and her amazing work.
Since February I have been promoted to Detective Inspector rank. I am working for the Association of Chief Police Officers in Westminster, which is the umbrella organisation which sets the strategies for all the 43 Police Forces of England and Wales.
Since attending your course, I am also the British policewoman of the Year, the Mosaic Community Leader of the Year, and the Asian Woman of Achievement in the Public Sector. I was not expecting to win the AWA Award, but was able to deliver an unscripted but heartfelt acceptance speech on the night- which was, of course, enough.
I came on your course because I was required to do a lot of public speaking as part of my upcoming high-profile role at the ACPO, and was frightened of not being enough, sounding wrong, letting the audience down. The issues I was required to speak about were important ones, so naturally I wanted to do all I could to present them in the impactive manner they deserved. But being at the front didn't feel natural to me, and I wanted it to.
Your course helped me realise that when I am speaking, I am not "on display" so much as "serving the audience". The focus needs to be on the message - not on myself. This has transformed my thinking on public speaking entirely- I now love being on stage, take to the front easily and effortlessly, and deliver my messages clearly to properly serve the audience.
You taught me how to recognise the humans in front of me- not just a sea of faces. I now work on the space between myself and my audience, and create relationships through the conversations I have from the front. The results have been incredible. I have motivated assemblies of schoolchildren, galvanised senior officers into action at large, formal briefings, delivered after-dinner speeches for charities and social enterprises etc etc, and I am loving every minute. I am also now a "reverse paranoid" like you recommended- I believe everyone is on my side unless they demonstrate otherwise! Putting my faith in others has changed my perspective beyond recognition.
We all have a message to deliver, and I am now able to put mine out there for the benefit of my area of policing.
I am proud and pleased that my "Project Shanaz", which I created in February in my mother's memory, is going from strength to strength and is making huge improvements nationally in the inclusion/ involvement and engagement of Women on the topic of Preventing Violent Extremism.
I am succeeding in this important area because you taught me that I am enough, and as a result I have been able to stride out and confidently take my place in the world.
Thank you so much