17,000 people join LIFT movement to build better leadership skills
17,000 people across Ireland have joined a movement aimed at building better leadership skills over the past year. That’s according to LIFT Ireland, a not-for-profit initiative working to improve the quality of leadership at all levels nationwide.
Launching LIFT’s three-year impact report, the organisation’s CEO Joanne Hession said it has grown from having 1,000 participants in its first year to reaching 17,000 people over the past 12 months. The Covid-19 pandemic accelerated LIFT’s expansion and impact, she said.
“We have seen exponential growth over the past year, due – in part – to our move online during Covid-19 and to the increased need for what we offer during a really difficult time. The number of trained LIFT leadership facilitators grew by 310% this year, and the number of participants in our Leadership Roundtables increased by 180% to over 17,000,” said Ms. Hession, continuing: “Our goal is that by 2028, 10% of the Irish population will have strengthened their leadership capabilities through LIFT.”
“Our impact report shows participants in LIFT found our leadership sessions to be of real benefit in facing the challenges brought about by Covid-19. Eighty-four per cent of people said participating in LIFT had helped either them or their organisation during the pandemic, with people noting that LIFT helped them to adapt to changed working conditions, better manage their mental health and wellbeing, and maintain a positive attitude.”
LIFT is delivered through a series of roundtable sessions, led by a volunteer facilitator, which starts with an 8-week process focusing on areas such as accountability, honesty and integrity, listening skills, empathy and understanding, and determination.
Currently, LIFT has 4,500 roundtable facilitators; over 80 partnership organisations in the business, public and non-profit sectors; and over 160 education partners in secondary schools and third-level institutions. Organisations that work with LIFT include Permanent TSB, Munster Rugby, NUI Galway, Dublin Airport, RTÉ, Pieta House, Laura Lynn Children’s Hospice, Bank of Ireland and AIB.
Highlights from LIFT’s Third Year
In 2020, the organisation reached a number of notable milestones, including:
- The LIFT schools’ programme growing from 28 partner schools in 2019 to 156 in 2020. The programme will now be delivered to up to 15,000+ students annually from September 2021.
- Partnering with the first higher-education institution, NUI Galway, where the programme has been delivered to approximately 1000 students, and 250 faculty members.
- Additional pilot programmes running at Dublin City University, University College Dublin and University of Limerick.
- Sandyford Business District becoming the first business district in Ireland to partner with LIFT, bringing the programme to its many multinational and indigenous member companies, in partnership with Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council.
- Increasing the reach of the programme internationally, with Irish business networks in Scotland and in the Middle East signing up and rolling out LIFT Leadership roundtables among their members.
- Utilising LIFT’s ‘Robin Hood’ funding model to enable a large number of new community and charity organisations to avail of the programme, including LauraLynn – Ireland’s Children’s Hospice, Merchants Quay Ireland, Purple House Cancer Support, Inner City Enterprise and Sphere 17 Regional Youth Service.
Surveys conducted with LIFT participants revealed that 96.8% of respondents said that their understanding of what is required to lead well had grown, while 86% said that they had experienced real positive change as a result of the LIFT process.
The full impact report is now available for download at www.liftireland.ie.