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Posts by camawise2004

“You don’t need to be artistic to be creative…”

event3-mediumIt’s 2:53am and that “Let It Go” song from Disney’s Frozen™ is running around my head, to accompany the sound of my youngest waking up, coughing and crying for the third time tonight. Perhaps the reason for this choice of earworm could be literal – I’m really quite cold now having got out of bed so many times – but more on that later.

Having missed so many of the great talks and workshops recently, I was excited to be attending Unleash Your Creativity, our April networking evening at Lucy Cavendish this week. Our very own Tennie Videler is used to providing training from her Vitae days so she launched in with her usual flair … and even a little ballet hop.

Tennie started off asking the room what we thought being creative was, and pounced on the suggestion that it was all about being artistic, and the counter that it was about thinking outside of the box. No, she said, artistic certainly helps but you don’t need to be artistic to be creative. She also asked us to indicate who had attended (a) because we thought we were creative, or (b) because we thought we weren’t – and then went on to say some people were “adaptive” (climbing ladders) and others were “creative” (haring up rock faces). Creative people take risks but “have a splendid time doing it”.

Ideally we could be both types of people, but the trick is to recognise which is your dominant character, then find others to work with who are the opposite of you.   We went through some exercises based on the ENTRE (ENquire, Transform, REalise) model which seems a great (oddly rigid but effective) way to zoom out/go wide with ideas, then bring you back into focus, go wide-focus, then narrow again. Three times apparently is the recommended cycle.   First we spent some time reframing Tennie’s question “How could AWiSE get more members?” which had our little group going round in circles with whats, whos, wheres, whens, whys and hows. Interestingly, while our final questions were worded differently, we were asking the same thing, eventually.

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We’re recruiting…

Self Employment Opportunity (part-time): CamAWiSE Coordinator

CamAWiSE is seeking a part-time self-employed Coordinator to provide high quality support to CamAWiSE and its members in collaboration with the Steering Group.

The successful candidate will have a STEM (science, technology, engineering or mathematics) background, a positive, friendly attitude and good interpersonal skills. They will need to be self-motivated and able to work independently as well as with a wide variety of people. The applicant should have excellent administrative skills (including MS Office), good communication and writing skills, active use of social media and be confident in using internet applications. Experience of events organisation and maintaining websites would be an advantage.

Key responsibilities will include:

  • responding to email enquiries and taking action as necessary, or forwarding to appropriate steering group members
  • writing and circulating the CamAWiSE e-bulletin (approx. fortnightly)
  • organising, publicising and attending events; writing up meeting reports and collating event feedback
  • reporting back to the CamAWiSE steering group regularly and attending steering group meetings (every six weeks, in the evening)
  • maintaining and updating the CamAWiSE website, Twitter feed, Facebook page and LinkedIn group
  • liaising with members regarding membership enquiries and renewals, and maintaining the membership database


Hours of work per week will be flexible (1-2 days per week). Evening work will be required for meetings and events. The successful applicant would be self-employed and work from home using their own equipment. The contract will initially run until July 2014 and there will be opportunity for renewal for a further 11 month period (Sept 2014-July 2015). You will receive a fee of £4,500 over an 11 month contract. Term-time working would be acceptable.

This position offers a great opportunity to develop your skills and has proved a springboard to new opportunities for our past coordinators.

To apply please send your CV, contact details for two references and covering letter to with “CamAWiSE coordinator” in the subject line.
Informal enquiries can be made to Penny Coggill ( or Anne Clarke (

Closing date 5/4/14. Anticipated interview date is week commencing 14/4/14.

“And what do you do?”

These are the words which I most dread hearing, at any gathering, be it social or business. Why? Because I’m convinced before I utter a single word in response that I’m boring the pants off the person who asked the question. Because I can anticipate their eyes glazing over before I start. And, crucially, because I’m no longer passionate about what I do for a living. As we discovered at our Winter Networking event, being passionate about what you do, and being able to describe why you love it, is key to ensuring the other person remembers what you’ve told them.

Adelina Chalmers

Adelina Chalmers

Who better to invite to our networking event than Adelina Chalmers, CEO and founder of Presenting Good Practice? Adelina is most certainly passionate about what she does; Read more

Dream, Dare and Do! AWiSE/CBN joint event is a great success

Dream, Dare and Do! What an inspiring title for our annual joint meeting with Cambridge Businesswomen’s Network (CBN). The event is always a great opportunity for us to meet other women from our sister network, but also to mingle with teachers and sixth-formers from St Mary’s School, which so kindly hosted the meeting and provided us with an excellent buffet.

Kate and girls

Kate invites volunteers to tell us about their dreams!

The title was provided by Kate Atkin, our speaker and facilitator for the evening. Kate encouraged us to commit some dreams to paper, then discuss them in our groups, particularly thinking about whether they are “doing” dreams or “being” dreams. There is an important relationship between these two concepts; thinking about your goals, you could ask yourself, “What would I have to DO to BE xxx….”, and equally, “What would I have to BE to DO xxx…”
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Sue Black: making change happen

On November 14th,  a good crowd of AWiSE and Lucy Cavendish members were entertained by Sue Black talking about her life and many achievements.  She is a wonderful example of how you can bring about change, not just in your own life, but for the benefit of others too.

Finding herself a single mum with three under-fives living in Tower Hamlets, she decided that she needed to get a qualification to provide an income for her family.  She started by doing a Maths access course where she was one of only two women, who came joint top of the class.  She followed this with a computing degree at the University of the South Bank – chosen as the nearest place to home so she could juggle childcare.  When she was asked to continue to PhD level, she admits she did not know what a PhD was.  She then followed an academic career in computing, becoming Head of Information and Software Systems at the University of Westminster.

Sue’s first step into making a difference was to set up BCSWomen, which she did to provide a forum for women in IT, who were often the only women in their department or at a conference, to interact and support each other.  On a visit to Bletchley Park, Sue was surprised to learn that over half of the war-time staff had been women.  So she started an oral history project to tell their story. Read more


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