David Mitchell is an independent International Development
Consultant. He works for donor organisations like the Department
for International Development (DFID) in the UK on projects that
promote economic regeneration.
"Common Purpose changed the way that I think about my own
role in the local community. With three other alunni, we ran a
pilot project, Citizen 2000, soon after the course finished. This
was an initiative to develop leadership skills in 11-13 year olds
by using similar methods to those of Common Purpose. The pilot was
greatly appreciated by the participants and was judged to have been
very successful. I also believe this pilot project managed to
influence government educational policy. I don't believe that this
would have happened without my experiences on the Common Purpose
"I was given a great insight into the workings of my local
community. I spend a great deal of my time abroad but I didn't
appreciate the extent to which local organisations worked together
to promote development in my own area; and Common Purpose really
opened my eyes in that respect."
"I didn't know any of the other participants, but as we went
on I built really good relationships with all of them. The course
took us all far beyond our comfort zones, but this taught us a
great deal about ourselves and how we work as leaders."
Common Purpose participants explore the importance of thinking
broadly about their work and placing themselves in a wider context.
David was no exception: "Working on development projects abroad
means consulting with a large number of different bodies and
organisations to make change happen on the ground. Prior to my time
on Common Purpose, I had a narrower view of who it was important to
network with, but now I'm much more open-minded. When embarking
upon new projects aside from working with local counterparts I also
consult with local academics, NGOs, community leaders and others
who I would not have considered before. Common Purpose really
changed the way I work in that respect."
Our courses also give leaders the confidence to follow their
instincts, and to develop the leadership style that suits them
best: "After going on the course, I understood that going with
my gut instincts was important. Now, if I believe that there is a
right way of doing things I have the self-belief to carry it
through. But, this does not mean ignoring other people's opinions -
on the contrary, it allows me to handle their criticisms in a
constructive way and take them on board."