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Posts by CAMAWISE

Do you feel like an imposter? by Aldara B. Dios

“Whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t, you’re right”
Henry Ford

In front of a full and expectant room, Kate Atkin started her remarkable talk on 23rd April asking us the questions: “What do YOU want to know? What do YOU want me to answer?” that was the beginning of a great and interactive workshop about the impostor phenomenon; it’s not a syndrome – she quickly clarified – and what lies behind success.

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The audience had a lot of questions. Some of them were about how to recognise the phenomenon: What is it? Does it affect women more than men or older people than younger? Does it depend on culture or family?

Others tried to understand the phenomenon: Does it have advantages? How to avoid it? How to recognise it? we even had a sarcastic: Is it another feminist nonsense?

So, what is the imposter phenomenon? 

As Kate put it “It is an intense feeling of intellectual phoniness despite one´s success”. It happens to successful people, and although it was first detected in women in academia now men and women from all over the world experience it. People like Michelle Obama, Art Garfunkel or Robin Ince have suffered from it and some studies say that up to 70% of all professionals will or have suffered with it.

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The imposter phenomenon it is not about having doubts the first time we do something. It is about still doubting ourselves after having done something successfully several times.

How to control it?

First thing: not everything has to be perfect and we have to learn to fail. Recognise our own patterns, perhaps you think that you are successful because you’ve worked harder than other people, when in fact, you should acknowledge your our own skills and abilities. Understand that success comes from expertise and know-how.

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Do you feel like an imposter? Kate recommended focusing on your successes: Make a confidence wall with all the things you are proud of or start a success log. Take control of your thoughts, take note of the positive feedback and finally avoid the dreaded “Yes,… but”…

As always, Kate delivered an engaging and amusing talk, full of useful facts and very enjoyable.

Thank you all for coming, and thank you, Kate.

Moving from diversity to inclusion by Dawn Bonfield. Last week to book!

Spend an evening with Dawn Bonfield MBE, who will present her case on Inclusive Engineering making inclusivity unavoidable. This approach ensures diversity will follow and is sustained. The steps include embedding Inclusive Engineering into university curriculums, changing our engineering processes and practices and adopting ‘bias interrupters’.

Dawn is a materials engineer by profession having studied Materials Science and worked in the aerospace industry. Her career spans; AERE Harwell, Citroen Research Centre (Paris), British Aerospace (Bristol), MBDA (Stevenage) and the Institute of Materials, Minerals, and Mining (London). She was previously the President and then the first Chief Executive of the Women’s Engineering Society, which works to promote gender equality. She founded, what has become, the International Women in Engineering Day, and the Top 50 influential Women in Engineering with the Daily Telegraph.

In 2016 she received her MBE for ‘Services to the promotion of diversity in engineering’. She now runs Towards Vision, which allows her to progress her own agenda, campaign, lobby, work her own hours and pick her own projects.

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Book now! Moving from Diversity to inclusion with Dawn Bonfield, MBE.

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“The HeART of Mentoring” with Natacha Wilson – by Shivi Chandna

“Mentoring is to support and encourage people to manage their own learning in order that they may maximise their potential, develop their skills, improve their performance and become the person they want to be.”

 The Oxford School of Coaching & Mentoring.

On 7th March, women from different walks of life sat around to discuss how to get the best from mentoring as a mentor and a mentee. Natacha Wilson who has an impressive career and acts as a mentor with the Foundation for Women Entrepreneurs and the Cherie Blair foundation for Women led the very enlightening workshop for the evening. Participants discussed a variety of topics such as what successful mentoring looks like, the reasons mentoring may not last and how and when to find mentorship.

 Who should a mentee seek?

A mentee should firstly recognize that they could get mentoring when they need and not wait to face adversity before seeking help.

The workshop participants discussed what qualities and skill set look for in a mentor. First of all, they agreed that careers and similarity of background are quite important. Before starting the process, ensure that there is a rapport and trust with a potential mentor, who should have a behavioral awareness to be able to understand how other people may react to a situation. It is equally important for them to have a sense of humor and great communication skills. Ideally, the mentor should be committed to learning more about mentoring and help others manage self-care.

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Natacha Wilson

Who should a mentor seek?

A mentee who has clarity of go
als of what they would like out of their mentoring experience. An important tip from experienced mentors was to manage maximum two mentees, engage no longer than six months and get feedback halfway through the process.

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What preparation can be done for mentoring?

A mentee should prepare an agenda for every meeting and have SMART goals to have a definition of success in mentorship. They should decide which area of their life they would like to discuss and set ground rules of commitment. In a meeting, the conversation should be led by the mentee with clarity on what they would like out of the mentoring experience. A mentor, on the other hand, could ask mentees to prioritize tasks vs timelines, identify the blockers, agree how to give feedback in a particular format and decide on boundaries. An employee could negotiate with an employer to find time for mentorship.

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What could happen during the mentoring process?

It is important to recognize the moments where mentors find themselves getting too attached to a mentee’s progress, feeling like it is your responsibility to help achieve the goal of a mentee and do a lot more than required.  It is vital to managing that closure when the mentorship finishes.

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Natacha Wilson

 

Towards the end of the workshop, a 5-minute speed mentoring session was held giving participants a glimpse of what the experience could be like. The workshop ended on a very positive note, listing the many benefits of mentoring. Mentors can help spot opportunities, build confidence, give impartial feedback and show broader perspectives. Mentees benefit from being listened to without interruption, can get help assessing risks and inspiration and motivation in their life. Most importantly you recognize how your life experiences can help anyone in a huge way, so get out there and get mentoring!

Do you want to become a CamAWiSE member?

Becoming a member of CamAWiSE helps us organize more events like this one and help women on STEM reach their full potential.

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Tips to boost your confidence.

We got together to work on top tips on being confident. First, we considered what situations we might particularly need a confidence boost in and choose the following ones to brainstorm tips for :

IMG_4653.JPG• Getting your opinion heard (for example in meetings)
• In a new role
• After a knock to your confidence, such as a failure, redundancy etc.
• For networking events
• Negotiating a pay rise or other working conditions such as flexi-time

1. Prepare- In every situation, bring prepared was seen as a real confidence. It helps to have thought about the content of what you are going to say, what arguments to use for your pay rise or other negotiations (including your researching your “market value”, considering the other person’s likely point of view), the interests and backgrounds of people you are meeting and possible answers to likely and hard questions in a job interview. For networking events people thought it was helpful to prepare an opening gambit as well as an exit strategy. Preparation for meetings can include sending out “homework” for others in advance.

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2. Celebrate successes- When you are feeling nervous or under confident, remember the successes you have had in the past. Maybe keep reminders (such as thank you cards or emails) to hand to remind yourself.
3. Be assertive- Assertive as a way of interacting with people is not the same as aggressive, it is the mindset that you are okay and the other person is okay and you both deserve respect and boundaries. You give respect and expect it in return. It involves listening, asking questions and clarifying and looking for areas of agreement and mutual wins.

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4. Feel the fear and do it anyway- it is natural to feel nervous, especially if you’re venturing out of your comfort zone (which is a good thing to be doing, but is when you are most likely to need a dose of confidence)
5. Get a mentor – Talking things through with someone who has been there may be the best thing for your confidence and it would be worth finding a mentor. For a general lift in confidence, become someone’s mentor! It will make you realize how far you have come.
6. Learn from your mistakes- Don’t beat yourself up about mistakes, analyse what you’d do differently next time. Don’t try to blame them on someone else and you will feel more confident in similar situations.

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7. Don’t take things personally/ keep perspective
8. Fake it till you make it- the important part really is the second half of the sentence- you will make it and you will feel confident in doing something that is now quite new, so put on a smile and act confident until you feel it. However, don’t bluster or over compensate.
9. Keep busy- Doing what you are good at will boost you. Maybe you can engineer small wins.
10. Do someone a favour- Or compliment or even just smile at someone, they won’t be the only ones benefiting!

Tips for specific situations included: if someone won’t stop talking, make a change to the situation, even if it is just getting up yourself.
To regain your confidence after a bad situation, remember how you bounced back before, what you did to get over any previous disappointments.

Thank you, Tennie for a most effective workshop!

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