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Posts tagged ‘women in leadership’

1st May talk: Empowering Women Leaders

Our journey to Antarctica

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What better place to sharpen one’s leadership skills than amidst the harsh landscape of Antarctica. The frozen continent is filled with stories of leadership from the early 20th century explorers and their race to be the first to set foot on the South Pole. For 78 women in STEM from around the world, Antarctica was the backdrop for their own explorations into leadership as part of Homeward Bound Projects.

Come join CamAWiSE co-chair Cathy Sorbara and University of Cambridge PhD student Hannah Laeverenz Schlogelhofer, 2 of the women chosen for this leadership program, as they reflect on their experience, why it is so critical to empower more women leaders, what they learned about themselves and working with others on board, and how it will influence their future careers and hopefully inspire others in the audience. And of course, learn more about the continent they have come to love and advocate for.

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photo by Cathy Sorbara

Book now! It’s only 2 weeks away

Tuesday 1st May. 19:00-21:00

Special prize £7 Members and Students. £10 Non-Members

Coffee, tea, and cake included.

Aurora centre. British Antarctic Survey

High Cross, Madingley Road.

Member & Students Non-Member

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Natacha Wilson and how to run successful projects by Aldara B. Dios

At the International Women’s Day, we were fortunate enough to have Natacha Wilson as the host of the workshop “10 tips on how to run successful projects”.

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We started the evening sharing our story with a friendly face: What do you do? and What kind of project have you managed? The list was broad and diverse, which included annual reports, file Athena Swan applications, clinical trials, family holidays and house expansions.

And before starting with her tips, Natacha asked us again, what makes a project successful for us? That was a pivotal question as we needed to know what to achieve before starting. Some of the answers were recurring, but some of them not. The meaning of success it was found, is different in each case and depends on the environment of the project.

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Once success was defined, we explored how we would do we achieve:

  1. Gain consensus on the goals. One way is setting SMART goals, that is, goals that are Specific, Measurable, Agreed upon, Realistic and Time-based. On every project, if you know your specific and measurable goals it is easier to know when it’s a success.
  2. Build and BE the best team you can. Although nowadays the lens is a lot on processes and performance, without the right people the project doesn’t happen. It was related to “No one person can whistle a symphony. It takes a whole orchestra”.
  3. Design, update and share a project plan. Many project managers make the mistake of not sharing the project plan with the team. Again, the team is essential!
  4. Determine what you need in advance. Plan, schedule, and Identify the tasks, sequence them, estimate time and budget, add key milestones and with that create a draft schedule.
  5. Be realistic with your schedule. People don’t work 24/7. Be MOSCOW to prioritise. Define the Must do and Should do goals and prioritise those from the Could do and Would do. On most of the projects the Must do and Should do are the least interesting but, should be prioritised and the team should understand this.
  6. People matter. Take care of your team and understand it. Not only do you need the people with the right skills, you also need people who work well together and have the experience needed.
  7. Teammates should know the needs of the others and yours. For that, you have to communicate with them.

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  1. Create and innovate. Solve the problems trying new ways to do things.
  2. Praise and empower your team. And remember that if you have to criticize someone it has to be balanced, objective, observed, specific and timed. And never focus on the person but on the problem.
  3. Have fun!

To end the evening Natacha asked us to reflect on and explore at least three of the questions we talked about during the workshop.

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Thank you, Natacha, for such a fun and productive evening.

 

 

 

 

My Homeward Bound Journey: The Beginning by Cathy Sorbara.

A little over four months ago, was the annual general meeting CamAWiSE, my first event acting as Chair. I listened to a talk by Dr. Deborah Pardo, a population modeller from the British Antarctic Survey, who was part of Homeward Bound’s maiden voyage to Antarctica last year. I heard her talk with such passion and clarity about Homeward Bound’s mission and how it has changed her life that I knew immediately that I needed to be part of this story.

Homeward Bound, she said, is a groundbreaking leadership, strategic and science initiative, and outreach for women, set against the backdrop of Antarctica.

The initiative, turned global movement, aims to heighten the influence and impact of women with a science background in order to influence policy and decision making as it shapes our planet.

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Deborah Pardo

When it launched in 2016, Homeward Bound gathered the first 76 of a targeted 1,000 women from around the world, all with critical science backgrounds, to undertake a year-long state-of-the-art program to develop their leadership and strategic capabilities, using science to build conviction around the importance of their voices. The inaugural program culminated in the largest-ever female expedition to Antarctica, in December 2016, with a focus on the leadership of women and the state of the world.

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Where do I sign up? I asked her following her talk. Serendipitously, the applications for the 2018 voyage were due three days later.

I rushed home and cleared my schedule for the weekend. I started to scroll through the online application and with each question my inner critic was pleading for me to quit. The questions ranged from Why are you suitable for Homeward Bound? To Given your science background, how do you think your leadership could influence policy and decision making? I even had to create a 2-minute elevator pitch and upload it to YouTube for their assessment.

I searched through last years’ participant videos and felt completely out of my league. These women were true leaders, leading inspirational lives. They were professors, heads of research organizations and environmental conservationists.

I, on the other hand, was a biochemist by training, I did my Ph.D. in Medical Life Science in Munich Germany and following my graduate studies, I stepped away from research. I never considered myself a leader and found the label very intimating.

Then there was the biggest catch. One of the project’s objectives is to be 100% self-funded, so not ‘not-for-profit’ and not ‘for-profit’. All women must contribute $16 000 USD. This covers the cost of being on the ship for 21 nights, hotel accommodation, faculty meetings, administration and operational contributions. On top of this, I would still need to pay for flights to our departure point at Ushuaia, Argentina.

I scrolled seemingly hundreds of times through the application and last years’ participant list, slowly talking myself out of applying. Then I saw a paragraph at the very of the application in BOLD. It said, We know women tend to only apply to positions where we feel we qualify 100%. We are here to tell you: JUST APPLY. We want women from a variety of STEM backgrounds at a variety of stages in the leadership journey. Sincerely, The Homeward Bound Team.

 

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Photo by Deborah Pardo

 

Then I started thinking of my own situation.

I am in a unique position. I am a scientist, chair of CamAWiSE and COO of the Cheeky Scientist Association, a global training platform for STEM academics looking to transition into industry. I have the ability to lead, influence and contribute to the lives of thousands of women and hopefully instill upon them confidence and encouragement to achieve their goals. My colleagues are located across Europe, Australia, India, and America, to name but a few countries. Building relationships, managing time zones and learning remote communication tools to enhance my leadership and strategical capability is not only a bonus but an absolute necessity for me to be successful in my current role and make a difference in the lives of others. I bring with me the voice of early career scientist that I counsel daily and know first hand their struggles, fears and dreams that need be heard in order to create policies to shape the future of our planet.

 

In particular, self-doubt within female PhDs is incredibly strong and inhibiting. I joined Homeward Bound to prove to those graduates that we can all be leaders and that leadership comes in many forms and from many fields.

To me, leadership is about finding out who you are as a person and using your gifts, your own unique attributes, to inspire others to be the best versions of themselves. Leaders do not create a vision on their own but bring together the best team of individuals that together can achieve greatness. When a great leader steps down or moves on, the team not only remains strong but can thrive due to the lasting impression of that leader and confidence she instilled upon.

Homeward Bound is definitely outside my comfort zone, which is why I am even more driven to do it.

Two weeks after submitting my application, I received the congratulatory email that I was selected out of the hundreds of women across the globe that had applied. We will be stronger together!

If you would like to support my journey, please see my crowd funding page here: https://igg.me/at/fb1KLsOodu8

 

 

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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