Enhance your career

On Friday 8th June Professor Averil MacDonald OBE delivered a workshop to 25 female postgrads and postdocs from the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences aimed at developing the skills needed to be an effective leader.

The day started with an icebreaker activity, and as part of this the participants were asked to send a text to an influential woman in their lives asking “If you could give your 16 year old self one piece of advice, what would it be?” The day continued with a personality test designed by Averil as part of the “People Like Me” WISE campaign which aims to recruit girls into STEM subjects post-16. This aimed to identify the personality types of the participants, and gave some job roles across various sectors which are generally suited to people with those traits. This was followed with a discussion about the results, and prompted conversations about future ambitions and ideal jobs.

Next up was a management activity, first completed individually and then results were discussed in groups until a solution was agreed upon. Theoretically, the group solutions should have been closer to the actual answer, however this was not always the case and some individuals proved very skilled at the activity – although not so much at persuading their group to agree with them! After many tips and discussions of what had been learned, as well as some great advice from Averil, the day ended with reading some of the texts received. There were some fantastic replies, ranging from funny to sincere, but there was a clear theme: don’t worry about the small things and have confidence in your own ability.

The day was a success: all the participants felt more equipped to improve their self confidence as a result of the workshop and nearly all the participants felt more confident about taking a leadership role in the future. When asked what they found most useful, participants responded:

Learning about different careers and types of leadership was very useful. Hearing about experiences of a very successful woman was also very helpful!

and the end result was clear.

Thanks to the organisers and professor Averil for a great workshop. It’s really easy to feel like you have imposter syndrome and the ups and downs of a PhD can get to you. It was really encouraging to be reminded me about why I started to do a PhD in the first place and the most important thing is to enjoy what you do!