how the OWLs were born

In 2017, Emmy O'Shaughnessy became the director of an arts charity in Oxford. 

It was her first leadership role and she needed a plan. She ordered 10 books from Amazon about leadership and spoke to as many leaders as possible. The job was bewildering and energising in equal measure and one day she sat in her mentor Annie's cabin discussing culture vs strategy, change and conflict. She was craving the wisdom and company of strong women leaders who were walking the path. She spoke to Annie about three things she had noticed;


1. A new wave of women leaders in the third and public sector in Oxford had taken over CEO roles previously occupied by men.


2. A year of being a charity leader in the age of austerity can be lonely, stressful and age you faster than a lifetime of booze and fags.


3. Many of these women leaders were white and there was a very apparent lack of intersectional leadership. 


Emmy imagined the cumulative power that would be created if women leaders were connected and more diversity in leadership roles was championed. Annie shared the excitement at calling these women together to support resilience through peer support. An email was written, a meeting was held, peer coaching groups started,  and then a dinner to explore the dreams and desires of these social change Boudiceas. 


On Friday the 8th March 2019, International Woman's Day, Annie and Emmy decided to act on the dream and launch OWLS. They found out that a collective of OWLS is known as a Parliament which they took as a sign. 






The rest as they say will be, herstory....which is currently in the process of being collectively written by the women who are joining. You don't need to live or work in Oxford to be part of it!  If you are woman leader committed to positive social impact, intersectional leadership and want company along the path ...drop Emmy and Annie a line at 

Please Note

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