Hi Charlotte - tell us a bit about yourself and what you’ve done in the past.
I'm Charlotte, 22, from the beautiful seaside city of Plymouth. For the past four years I've been in Oxford - first to study Theology, and then as the Vice-President for Welfare and Equal Opportunities at the Student Union. Now I'm living in Sheffield, and have a new job with the Girls' Brigade (GB), which I have just started this week.
Why are you passionate about developing leadership in young women?
Despite it being the 21st century, there are so many areas and fields in which men still dominate, and this isn't because women don't have the right skills. Often it's because they weren't given the opportunity, the confidence, or the tools to achieve. I want to make sure that young women can reach their full potential, and to use the gifts that God gave them to create a much more equal society.
What issues if any have you had in using your gifts of leadership in the past (positive and negative)?
People have been critical of me, and assumed things I'm in charge of would fail because of my gender - most definitely a negative! But despite this, I am reminded that 'all things are possible through Christ Jesus', and I can see the work that God has done and is doing through me.
Tell us about your new role with GB
I’ll be working on GB's brand new initiative, The Esther Collective. The Esther Collective is a new discipleship opportunity for women aged 18-30 who want to intentionally commit a year of their lives to develop integrity, influence and faith. Through a series of six Saturdays over the course of a year, members of The Esther Collective will be part of a community of women who will be equipped to be leaders in God's world. There’s also the opportunity to take part in The Esther Collective+ give a whole year, perhaps in their local church, for GB, or whatever else God is placing on their hearts.
What do you hope to achieve in the role over the next five years?
It’s my prayer that young women who are part of The Esther Collective will grow as women of faith and that in five, 10, even 50 years’ time, they’ll be influencing the world around them. I hope that they’ll be taking on things that are currently unimaginable, and leading others by example as they live a life of integrity, following in the steps of Jesus.
If you could say one thing to young girls to develop them in leadership from what you’ve learnt from your own experience what would it be?
God is amazing! It’s as simple as that. When you think you can't do something, God can. We’re nothing special, but we’re given tremendous gifts, and are privileged to have God working through us. Focus on Him, and He’ll use you in extraordinary ways.
Who have been your main encouragers in developing your leadership (think of older women who have passed the baton on to you) and how have they done that?
Having been part of the Girls' Brigade since I was five, I’ve been heavily influenced by the leader of my GB group. I've never once heard her shout, nor lose her temper, nor turn anyone away. Whatever you have to say, she is willing to sit and listen. She loved us, and cared for us, and prayed for us. Growing up, she not only taught me about Jesus, but also showed me His nature. Sometimes leading by example is the biggest gift you can give someone, and I can only hope that I’m able to echo her integrity and character in my life.