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Posts tagged ‘Research’

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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Homeward Bound to Antarctica: Dr Deborah Pardo – by Raheela Rehman

Setting sail from Argentina, 76 women from 16 countries capped off 2016 with a 20-day voyage to Antarctica. This made the BBC news front page story; “Largest all-women expedition heads to Antarctica”. Homeward Bound, an Australian programme, is the brainchild of Dr Jessica Melbourne-Thomas and Ms Fabian Dattner. It aims to place women, with a science background, firmly on the global map to influence “policy and decision making as it shapes our planet”. The Homeward Bound voyage in parallel with lectures and leadership workshops, took its very first women to observe the effect of climate change close up.

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I thought I knew what Dr Deborah Pardo was about to present at Lucy Cavendish College. I expected a presentation about; her participation in Homeward Bound, her climate observations at Antarctica, how her research slotted into the programme’s objectives and to inspire the audience to push their boundaries. Yes, Deborah hit all four, but her unexpected “contagious optimism” set the room alight. She took our hands, pulled us into her world and we took our personal journey through her experience.

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Deborah’s professional roles took her from France (her home) to Sweden and most recently to the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) in Cambridge, UK. Her research focus at BAS was on the demography and understanding the drop in the populations of three Albatross species (Wandering, Grey-headed, and Black-browed). She monitored the birds by tagging them with tracking devices and processed the extracted data using extensive computer modelling. During this time Deborah trained two PhD students and she also took maternity leave to have her son. A guilt-ridden 10 months followed as she was unable to provide full focus on both her research and family life. As a driven scientist she found it difficult being away from her work, but with no family support in the UK, the time away led to personal reflection on her work-life balance.

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She questioned the reach of her research papers. In the bigger picture, what impact would they have globally to help the Albatross species? The next step came naturally; intrinsic goals would lead to satisfaction and play as a catalyst for happiness. These goals included improving the environment and reducing consumption. The common denominator to create this global wave required half the population to engage, and that was to empower women to take a lead.

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In developing countries, women are the carers for their families, their children and the old. They hold a “quiet knowledge”, which glues the family together. Along with this central role, at times of crisis women are also the most affected – Deborah cited the Bangladesh floods of 1991, where 90% of those killed were women.

But it was also this “quiet knowledge” that women used in Western Africa, where Water Hyacinth had polluted the waterways. This removed the oxygen from the water, suffocating the fish and impeding the movement of boats. This halted trade and fishing for the local fishermen. The women removed the weed, using them to make ropes that they entrepreneurially traded, whilst freeing the waterways. Deborah explained that women work close to the ground and they are more aware and proactive to combating climate change.

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She also pointed out the stark figures of women globally in positions of leadership:

  • Research | 28%
  • Politics | 27%
  • Business | 20%
  • Medical doctors| 16%

Leadership takes many forms and not just being the CEO. The knowledge within the person is the formative contributor to leadership and success. As a scientist, Dr Deborah Pardo followed her professional path, with rigorous evidence-based decision-making. As a female scientist, Dr Pardo believes that leadership decisions are taken collectively as a team, which is a key leadership capability. The economic case shows that when senior leadership is composed of greater diversity, the skills that women bring to the table strengthen the organisational performance.

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Prior to the journey, a year-long preparation involving; online training and psychological tests measuring the participants’ lifestyle were taken. She was also required to raise $16k (US dollars). Deborah rose to the challenge. One of the sponsors was the parent of a school child. Deborah was required to provide an educational video for the school in return for the sponsorship. She will also work with the school for three months.

Why Antarctica? Antarctica is an iconic symbol of the human impact on the world and grabs the attention of the media. The participants travelled by ship overnight to different locations, in the mornings after breakfast they went on land and returned for training in the afternoon.

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One of the lessons learnt from her Homeward Bound journey, was to question; “What can I really achieve?” Within a network, Deborah is in a stronger position to instigate, maintain and follow through for change. She will now act as a mentor to the next set of bright women who take up the challenge, including Catherine Sorbara, new Chair of CamAWISE.

By Raheela Rehman

Winter networking 2016

Speed networking, stories of real-life professional women and mince pies. That could be a recap of the 2016 winter networking, but it was so much more.

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Mince pies

During the speed networking, the room was filled with energy as attendees changed partner every five minutes. This allowed everybody to make more contacts and to hone their networking skills.

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End of a five minutes segment.

After the networking, several members of the steering group talked about their professional careers. Although they all had different paths they all stressed the importance of doing what you enjoy and not what you are supposed to do

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Julia Bardos

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Anne Clarke

For all of them, CamAWiSE was very important in different stages of their career as a friendly and supportive group. Indeed, CamAWiSE is a good place to connect with professional women who share similar experiences, gain skills and increase your confidence.

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Penny Coggill

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Claire Lucas

We also had an impromptu speaker: Lucy Bennett, an engineering student who brought out the importance of having female role models for students like her.

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Lucy Bennett

Thank you very much to all the speakers for sharing their experiences with us.

Getting noticed on LinkedIn

“I have attended events on LinkedIn before, but this workshop’s step-wise approach to building a meaningful and strong profile had much more impact”, said one attendee coming out of the CamAWiSE event. The ‘Getting noticed on LinkedIn’ workshop was conducted by Cathy Sorbara, COO of Cheeky Scientist and a steering group member of CamAWiSE. LinkedIn is proving to be a ‘must-have’ social presence for professional growth whether to seek job opportunities or to build your brand. 

Cathy asked the attendees to consider questions like –

  • What is the goal of your LinkedIn profile?
  • Who is your target audience (hiring manager or business partner?)
  • If someone doesn’t know your name, what keywords might they use which would lead them to your profile?

 

Cathy emphasised making use of the headline and summary space to create a crisp account of your achievements and aspirations. The headline, she explained, should use your transferable and technical skills to define you as a person. Make a connection with the viewer using an elevator pitch! The summary should not be a resumé–like account but an expression or narration of your aspirations. List the achievements that relate to those goals in a manner that stimulates the viewer to connect and find out more about you. Visual assets including PowerPoint presentations, links to blogs, pdf files, and pictures can be added to reinforce your achievements and the trajectory you aspire to.

img_4458-copyRecommendations and skills endorsements from connections (usually colleagues) are important ways to build credibility and increase profile views. Cathy added: “Everybody has transferable skills, even if they don’t know it, and these skills are in popular demand over technical ones”. Your profile photo must be high-quality and professional-looking, while a background photo is a great way to give further weight to the image you would like to promote. Volunteer experiences and publicising your interests by content sharing are great ways to connect to your target audience and showcase your communication and knowledge-based skills.

When requesting connections, it is more rewarding and respectful to personalise the standard message provided by LinkedIn. You can refer to a common interest or connection, for example, but keep to no more than 50 words.

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A great profile will help you begin to capitalise on the most powerful online networking tool in the world that is used by 98% of recruiters. However, networking on LinkedIn is the next essential step to connect directly with target viewers and their secondary connections, helping you build a strong network which enhances profile visibility. Other social media platforms like Twitter, as well as in-person networking, also play an important role. Let’s connect!

by Ruchi Chauhan

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