Resources Article

Of Confidence and Comfort Zones

Susan Raikes’ Fellowship taught her authenticity, reflection and confidence.

Susan Raikes is a Clore 9 Fellow from 2012-13. She has been recently appointed as the Head of the Department of Learning, Volunteers and Audiences at The British Museum.

I had been working at the British Museum in various roles since 2007, and held the position of Head of Learning when I received the Clore Fellowship in 2012. I used the Fellowship opportunity to increase my confidence, extend my network and find out more about other aspects of the cultural sector. I wanted to explore the world outside of the museum sector, and did my three-month placement at Unilever – perhaps as far from my own familiar role as I could be!

I was encouraged to stretch and even break out of my comfort zone. My Fellowship allowed (and encouraged) me to do things that I would never dreamt of doing before I started the programme. I learnt about so many different areas within and outside of the museums sector that has helped me realign my perspective. On a personal level, I learnt a lot about myself as well – about resilience, courage, reflection, authenticity and confidence. 

I don’t think that being a Clore Fellow has fundamentally changed me, but I now have innumerable tools to draw on. I am a better, more rounded and more authentic leader than I was when I started the Fellowship. I understand why the museum sector is right for me and the kind of difference I want to make. I am much more confident in my abilities, and can articulate them in a way that I am comfortable with. Everything that I learnt at and through the Fellowship has not only been of great help in enabling me to apply for the new role at the British Museum, but also – and more importantly – will be crucial in enabling me to make a success of it!


Themes Alumni Journeys Qualities of Leadership