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Ivy House alumni interview – Jessica Bradley

What did you think of the IH Programme?

In short, and this sounds dramatic, it really has changed my life. I always worry about going on training or learning programmes and coming away without truly embedding the things I’ve learnt. With this, it couldn’t be further from that. 

To have that kind of development, whilst still fairly early on in my career, has been instrumental. It’s the kind of learning that you see given to the Execs and Senior Leaders.

The masterclasses are incredible. They’re such a great opportunity to learn things that I would never have been exposed to before. My external network has grown loads and the facilitating of the coaches has been amazing – they really enable you to see a different perspective by asking you the kind of questions you wouldn’t have thought about yourself and they inspire a new way of thinking, new beliefs and new actions. 

Before Ivy House, I was nurturing and empathetic as a leader, but I think I was a little self-deprecating. Maybe I didn’t know myself so well, I was frightened to have the difficult conversations that I knew I needed to have to be more effective but chose not to. I was less willing to put my hand up for opportunities that cropped up because I thought I wasn’t good enough, or I was nervous that I’d get it all wrong. 

Now I feel confident, self-aware and generally more powerful and a better leader. I know who I am, I know what my strengths are, I know what my development areas are, I have a plan, I take on feedback so much better than I used to. I feel that the Ivy House programme has helped me to become more of a true learner.

How different is it from other courses that you have attended?

They’re worlds apart. With the Ivy House Programme, the minute you walk in, you feel totally safe. You feel able to disclose things that you would never have thought about disclosing before. You feel real power in vulnerability with everyone else in the room and I think that vulnerability and that exposing of yourself helps you to learn that much quicker, and that helps the learning to embed that much quicker as well. 

What were your main takeaways from the workshops?

Ownership and choice. So, one of the things that they teach you is a really important equation: ‘Event + Behaviour = Result’. It really teaches you how to take full accountability for the life that you want to lead, relationships that you want to create or change, and making your own choices. Before Ivy House, I felt a little bit like the thoughts, feelings and behaviours that I was having or doing weren’t through choice. So, if something went wrong in my life, I instantly felt annoyed, sad or frustrated and I thought that was out of my control. 

I now feel that I’m totally in control of the thoughts that I’m having and the feelings I’m having. I can really take a step back, look at the bigger picture and choose the thoughts and feelings that I want to have, be more accountable, and have more empowering beliefs rather than the limiting ones. 

How have you used them in your work environment? 

Before, presenting to large groups or holding a call with thirty plus people and trying to get people to agree to something, would fill me with panic. 

Now, I see things like that as an opportunity to grow and develop. Back in December last year, I had only been on two masterclasses by that point, and I volunteered myself to speak in front of two-hundred people at an event. My whole thought process has changed; I feel able to channel excitement and positivity into the nervous energy I’ve always had. I asked for feedback and took ownership of that feedback. That was a huge thing for me.

How has the experience affected your relationships with your team/department?

 I would say that the conversations I’m having at work are much better now. I don’t think any of my team would mind me saying that I’ve become far more open and honest since completing the programme! But I’m having those honest conversations in a truly effective way.

 One of the things that Elke (founder of Ivy House) told us on the masterclasses was: “Only you have the power to change your future” and she’s totally right. Now I see that in a totally different way, and I am being totally honest and authentic about the things that don’t sit well with me, and the things that I think are working really well. 

How have you used the core principles in your personal life? 

One of my core values – fairness – would be a good example.  A friendship wasn’t working to its best, and it felt like I was making all the effort. I was always going round to see her or contacting her rather than her ever coming to me. So, we had a good conversation and I just said “I don’t think this relationship is as effective as it could be, it feels different and I want to get us back on track” and she really understood and said “I never would have seen it that way”. I’m not sure she’d have raised it. Before Ivy House we probably both would’ve let it just keep slipping away. It helped us to work through that and now we’re getting on so much better. That was a real positive.                                





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