Cambridge is famous for its many innovators, some of whom have gone on to be very, very successful in the business world.
What kind of mind do you need to be a successful business person? Clever, innovative and resourceful all help. Visionary, maybe? Process-oriented? Organised? With plenty of the “soft” or people skills?
It’s a rare bird who combines all of these so no need to despair if you think you’re missing some. We can all benefit from adopting a different type of thinking.
For example, you might think that, if being a woman in science or engineering isn’t as rewarding as you’d hoped, you’d like to try something else and maybe being your own boss has an attractive sound. Do you then immediately think “Well, what could I do – I don’t have any ideas.”?
On Tuesday the 2nd October I, and 40 other women, arrived at Lucy Cavendish for the first in a series of five WiSE UP career focused workshops. The idea is that through the course of the series, by coming to know ourselves a little better, recognising our skill set, learning to put our best foot forward and knowing how to get the best out of others we can all take stock and consider our options…….
For some this may be looking for a new job and for others it may involve switching careers altogether, taking the first step back into work after a break or indeed making the most of our current position. The world is our oyster apparently!
The evening began with caffeine and cake (is there any other way to start?!) and an engaging networking challenge which involved finding our place along the spectrum of careers in the group from ‘just starting out’ to ‘hey I might just have cracked this career malarkey’ (my personal viewpoint). The noise levels soon revealed that the group were keen to share experiences (!) and learn a few tips from others along the way.
The workshop itself was based around the concept of Career Anchors, a self assessment tool by Edgar Schein. Through a mix of interviews with a buddy and a personal questionnaire, the purpose was to identify how our motives, competencies and values relate to our career choices.
Book review: Dorothy Hodgkin- A life by Georgina Ferry
Last year Georgina Ferry gave a talk to Cambridge AWiSE. She has written biographies on Dorothy Hodgkin and Max Perutz. I bought a copy of ‘Dorothy Hodgkin- A life’ and really enjoyed it. I lent it to a crystallographer friend rather than writing the review straight away (which is a positive sign in itself). So here is a view of the book that has been mmm, left to mature… As I’ve said before, I quite like to structure blog posts around 9 points:
1. As a book it works really well, avoiding many of the pitfalls of a biography. There is a good balance between Dorothy’s life story and her science. Not too much foreshadowing of the greatness to come, the linear-with-time-format works well, especially as Georgina manages to still bring a twist in the tail.
2. Dorothy’s life is totally fascinating and she comes across as totally likeable but without any saccharine.
3. I did not know she suffered from arthritis. This made me admire her even more as she would have had no recourse to the drugs that us modern -day sufferers have!
So, what can modern day women in science learn?
CamAWiSE Career Day – 22 June 2012
A fantastic networking event has been organised by CamAWiSE. The day started off with an introduction about the different types of scientists. This was a real eye-opener that there are other science jobs available outside a lab. This was followed by a panel discussion in which 4 women described their career path. They were all very successful but it also became clear that they all had to make career decisions based on their private life as well as from a career perspective and that they struggled with dilemma’s that many female scientists working in a lab on temporary contracts and wanting to raise a family are still facing. It was great to hear these women had similar issues and they were all very open about it.
Professor Dame Sandra Dawson is a Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge, professor of Management Studies at Judge Business School (which she pretty much founded and led for 10 years), and was the first female Master of Sidney Sussex College. She has previously worked in the civil service and as a researcher, lecturer and professor at Imperial College. She is now non-executive director of the UK Financial Services Authority as well as Oxfam.
I like to try and distill a talk I’ve listened to/ report I’ve read into a few ‘learning points’ (for historical reasons this has crystalised into 9, but I find it is just useful to have a number to whittle down to/ group into). So here are my favourite 9 points….