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Aurora role models

Approximately 1000 role models from 145 institutions have taken part in Aurora supporting women to take the first step in their leadership journey.

Role of the role models

Role models provide the opportunity for participants to build contacts with women leaders who have forged a successful career for themselves within higher education.

Institutions, champions and individuals are invited to recommend women or nominate themselves to attend the development days.

Aurora role model registration 2019-20 is now open. To register to be a role model, please click here

Aurora 2019-20

Aurora runs in a number of locations across the UK and Ireland and consists of six interlinked days.

To find a cohort search "Aurora" in our calendar.


Register to be a role model

Aurora role model registration 2019-20 is now open. To register to be a role model, please on the link below.

Register to be role model

Who are the role models?

Role models do not need to have a particular status or seniority, it is the confidence and guidance they bring that is so valuable. They can be Aurora alumnae who want to give something back to the programme and apply the learnings they have gained in a very practical way or non-Auroans who feel that they have experiences to share as well as facilitation skills.

The qualities we look for include someone who is:

•    a good listener: ensuring everyone is heard and has a space to speak where all opinions are respected
•    confident enough to keep a group of up to seven participants to task
•    positive, outgoing, warm, and interested in others
•    able to balance sharing her own experiences with encouraging others to talk
•    able to give practical advice and shares stories and scenarios from their career
•    motivational
•    able to ask thought provoking questions

We welcome individuals who identify as women from a variety of different and diverse backgrounds, from traditional and non-traditional career paths, and those working in full, part-time and job share arrangements. We do ask that role models are able to commit to the entire delivery day 10.00am-4.30pm, to help guide the participants, and add value to their session. 

How to be a better role model

Our facilitation team have created 8 top tips for how to be a better role model. Click on the link below to read them.

How to be better role model

Role model directory

Find out more about the Role models for London 1 cohort 2019-20 by clicking on the link below.

Aurora role models for London 1 cohort 2019-20

What are the benefits?

Benefits of being a role model include:

  • Access to, and involvement in, a strong and growing women's network.
  • An opportunity to attend the development days covering ‘Identity, Impact and Voice’, ‘Power and Politics’, ‘Core Leadership Skills’ and ‘Adaptive Leadership Skills’. Each day welcomes guest speakers, you can read interviews and blogs from a number of guest speakers on the Advance HE’s blog. 
  • Encouraging women to think of themselves as leaders.
  • Taking an active role in challenging the gender imbalance in the higher education sector.
  • An opportunity to hear from renowned women speakers.

Aurora Longitundinal Study

Our five-year longitudinal study of Aurora participants tracks the careers and aspirations of women working in higher education.

Read more

Aurora role model webinar

This webinar provides more detail about role models and Aurora, particularly for those new to Aurora or who have not attended for some time.

On the day

Role models will facilitate a table of up to seven delegates, and are asked to encourage engagement with the topics discussed on the development day, share their stories and experience. In advance of each development day role models will receive an email with the venue details, programme and a brief on how to manage the activities and communications on the table that they will facilitate.

For Aurora 2019-2020, role models will be asked to arrive for registration promptly at 10.00am (or 09:30 for the Dublin cohort) to be briefed by a member of the team and the opportunity to have an hour to network with participants and other role models. Each day finishes at 4.30pm and we ask role models to ensure that they are available for the entire day. 

Note: role models are welcome to attend more than one development day across multiple locations.

Example 1: Facilitated discussion on identity (day one, 'Identity, Impact and Voice'):

Who you are, who do you want to be and who do you need to be; the different characters we play when leading others – how might you broaden your portfolio, and how best can you optimize this skill and use it more strategically?

Role models: do please join in, especially if you can share examples of choices about how you employ your different identities in work situations.

Example 2: Facilitated exercise on introduction to adaptive leadership (day four, 'Adaptive Leadership Skills'):

We begin by a feed forward exercise where participants share a skill they want to work on, or an attribute that they want to develop and ask the group to give them some ideas, suggestions on how to improve by the end of the day.

Role model: facilitate the brief introduction of those on the table and an exercise where participants will share their insights into leadership quotes that have been provided in pairs, or trios. Role model may be asked to feedback themes from the table.


Role models are a vital part of the participant’s experience of Aurora. If you have booked to be a role model and you are unable to attend your development day, please contact the Aurora team at the earliest opportunity.


Attendance at Aurora for role models is provided free of charge.

Please be aware that Advance HE is unable to reimburse expenses. However, we do encourage role models to get in touch with their designated Aurora Champion or liaison within their institution, who may be able to provide support. Find out who your Aurora Champion is: Aurora Champion Directory.

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