Alumna Spotlight: Isabel Wolf Gillespie
Author of two books, running a business during the Covid-19 pandemic, traveling to other African countries for a Leadership programme, being awarded a PhD scholarship AND completing her MPhil in Leadership Coaching cum laude. There seems to be little that alumna Isabel Wolf Gillespie, named the Top Student of the MPhil in Leadership Coaching programme in 2022, cannot do if she sets her mind to it. We asked her a few questions about the degree, her thoughts on responsible leadership, and the highlights of her journey at the business school.
Why did you choose to study at Stellenbosch Business School and specifically, the MPhil in Leadership Coaching?
Answer: I had completed the Postgraduate Diploma in Leadership Development at Stellenbosch Business School and it had such an impact on me, my personal and professional life, that it was almost a natural extension to continue with my studies in Coaching.
Stellenbosch Business School has a strong focus on responsible leadership development. How would you define responsible leadership?
Answer: Responsible Leadership means that any decision is considerate of the long-term implications of this decision; mostly, irresponsible decisions are made for short-term goals. In business schools, there appears to have been a trend that leaders are only asked whether a decision is legal versus whether it’s right. Responsible leadership is required to change the narrative and status quo of the industry from “business as usual".
What was the highlight of your studies at the business school?
Answer: I tremendously enjoyed meeting my fellow colleagues and soaked up the learning and lessons from the faculty.
What is your top advice for new students as they embark on their studies in the new year?
Answer: Go for it and remember that you will go through difficult patches during your studies. To grow, we need to be uncomfortable and stretch, consider a difficult time not as a reason to quit but rather as an opportunity to grow and become a better version of yourself.