Events

Women in Academia Resolutions Retreat, online September 2020

There is never enough time to get around to stuff you really want to do! I used to be an academic myself and understand this feeling! 

The aim of this Resolutions Retreat is to support women in academia to reflect on work and work/life values and consider how to set realistic goals at a time when the space to focus is stretched or maybe feels non-existent.  

Numbers are strictly limited in order to enable plenty of interaction, with lots of reflection and discussion time – and space for coffee breaks! 

The Resolutions Retreat: 

– gives you a space to reflect on your values 

– takes a values-led approach to deciding priorities and setting realistic goals

– provides a framework for supporting you to stick to your resolutions and achieve your goals

Give yourself an afternoon to focus on YOU.  

Share the space with other women who understand the particularities (and peculiarities?!) of the academic world. 

This is for you if:

– You would appreciate a gentle, supportive environment that recognises the complexity of academic women’s working lives

– You want some time and space to recharge and to think about your direction, motivated by what is important to you

– You want to reflect on your values and realign your work with them 

– You want to connect with other women in similar situations

This is not for you if:

– You’ve got it all sorted! 

– You have identified your values and use them to guide your direction and the goals you set yourself 

– You have strategies that work and support you to achieve your goals

– You are happy with your progress on work that is important to you 

Register on the Eventbrite page

Please note that ticket sales end on 28th August 2020, 11.30pm. 

Check out the video below to hear Julie talking about the retreat (see if you can spot the cat!). If you have any queries about the event, or are wondering if it is right for you, please get in touch with Julie. You can email her via her website contact form or find her on LinkedIn or Twitter. 

Hear from Julie talking about the Resolutions Retreat – and see if you can spot the cat!

Feedback on the Women in Academia Resolutions Retreat:

 The space:

“Time for reflection and re-evaluation”

“A quiet, respectful space”

“There was openness and mutual respect”

The takeaways:

“It has consolidated ideas and next steps”

“Really enabled a clear thought direction”

“Enabled me to re-set goals and resolutions”

“It has helped me focus in terms of my direction, but also why I find certain things/issues important”

“It gave a framework for thinking/reflecting”

“It has made me see the mismatch between values and goals and made me think about how to create space for the values”

“It has really made me understand/see why I am struggling to ‘fit’ in both with the institution where I work and academia. I’ve realised this is because of the dissonance between my values and goals”

The shared experience:

“One of the best things was hearing other women discuss their experiences and goals”

“It helped me realise I am not alone in these difficulties”

The facilitator:

“It was run in a thoughtful and peaceful way”

“Julie is a skilled and enabling facilitator”

 The only suggestion for improvement was that people wanted more…..! 

Testimonial: 

“Julie fostered a very safe atmosphere of positivity during the ‘Resolutions Retreat’ I attended, and she really helped me to think about my goals, aspirations, and why this is my career. The conversations were lively but incredibly respectful – not always something I’m used to at work. It was really important to get together with like-minded women, of different ages, experience, and backgrounds, and really heartening to know we often share similar stories. I was especially interested in the match or mismatch with an ‘institutional message’, and how to navigate that in terms of my own ethics. The most important thing though, was that Julie helped us all explore different perspectives, and learn new things about ourselves.”

And do take a look at this blog for some thoughts behind putting on the first resolutions retreat in January 2020.  

Events

Women in Academia Resolutions Retreat, online June 2020

An impact of the Covid-19 pandemic is its challenge to our day-to-day working and living practices.

For many people, this has provoked a reflection on what is truly important, what our personal values are.

Building on a successful Resolutions Retreat for Women in Academia held in ‘real life’ earlier this year, I’m pleased to offer an online version of this retreat.

The aim is to support women in academia to reflect on work and work/life values and consider how to set realistic goals at a time when the space to focus is stretched or maybe feels non-existent.  

Numbers are strictly limited in order to enable plenty of interaction, with lots of reflection and discussion time – and space for coffee breaks!

The Resolutions Retreat: 

  • gives you a space to reflect on your values 
  • takes a values-led approach to deciding priorities and setting realistic goals
  • provides a framework for supporting you stick to your resolutions and achieve your goals

Give yourself an afternoon to focus on you. 

Share the space with other women who understand the particularities (and peculiarities?!) of the academic world. 

Sign up on the Eventbrite page here

If you have any queries about the event, or are wondering if it is right for you, please do get in touch with Julie. You can email her via her website contact form or find her on LinkedIn or Twitter

Feedback on the previous (in person) Resolutions Retreat:

 The space:

“Time for reflection and re-evaluation”

“A quiet, respectful space”

“There was openness and mutual respect”

The takeaways:

“It has consolidated ideas and next steps”

“Really enabled a clear thought direction”

“Enabled me to re-set goals and resolutions”

“It has helped me focus in terms of my direction, but also why I find certain things/issues important”

“It gave a framework for thinking/reflecting”

“It has made me see the mismatch between values and goals and made me think about how to create space for the values”

“It has really made me understand/see why I am struggling to ‘fit’ in both with the institution where I work and academia. I’ve realised this is because of the dissonance between my values and goals”

The shared experience:

“One of the best things was hearing other women discuss their experiences and goals”

“It helped me realise I am not alone in these difficulties”

The facilitator:

“It was run in a thoughtful and peaceful way”

“Julie is a skilled and enabling facilitator”

 The only suggestion for improvement was that people wanted more…..! 

Testimonial: 

“Julie fostered a very safe atmosphere of positivity during the ‘Resolutions Retreat’ I attended, and she really helped me to think about my goals, aspirations, and why this is my career. The conversations were lively but incredibly respectful – not always something I’m used to at work. It was really important to get together with like-minded women, of different ages, experience, and backgrounds, and really heartening to know we often share similar stories. I was especially interested in the match or mismatch with an ‘institutional message’, and how to navigate that in terms of my own ethics. The most important thing though, was that Julie helped us all explore different perspectives, and learn new things about ourselves.”

And do take a look at this blog for some thoughts behind putting on the first resolutions retreat in January 2020.  

Thoughts

Has your organisation ever celebrated Lesbian Visibility Day? Or why April 26th really should be in your diversity calendar

Lesbian Visibility Day: what is it?

I became aware of Lesbian Visibility Day in 2019. Internet searches tell us this international awareness day originated in 2008. However, there is no reliable source with detailed information on its origin. 

It is somewhat ironic that I, as a lesbian who has researched lesbian visibility on screen had never heard of it and found out by chance on social media. None of my lesbian friends had heard of it either. We are not alone, as this article on After Ellen, ‘the leading site for lesbians worldwide’, attests.  

This invisible Lesbian Visibility Day raises interesting questions: why have we never seen our workplaces or wider culture mark this day? Is it important? Lesbian invisibility has a long history. For example, while sexual activity between men was outlawed in the U.K., sex between women was never illegal – it was simply never mentioned.  

In an era of what feels like an ever-increasing number and variety of awareness days, Lesbian Visibility Day seems similarly to have slipped through the net – until now. In 2020, U.K.-based DIVA, ‘Europe’s leading magazine for lesbian and bi women’, is making a week of it, with a planned launch in Parliament (revised, now, due to the Covid-19 Global pandemic). 

Why your organisation should be celebrating it: inclusion and wellbeing

McKinsey’s Women in the Workplace Report 2019 illuminates some of the ways in which lesbians experience the workplace differently – and more negatively – to women in general.  In their survey of over 68,500 U.S. employees, 23% of lesbians reported feeling that they could not talk about themselves or their life outside of work, compared to 10% of women overall (26% bisexual women expressed this). 24% of lesbians reported hearing demeaning remarks about them or people like them, compared to 16% of women overall. Most concerning is the fact that 53% of lesbians reported experiencing sexual harassment in the workplace, compared to 41% of women overall (62% of bisexual women expressed this). 

 From the McKinsey report, we can see that almost a quarter of lesbians do not feel they can bring their ‘whole selves’ to work and that the workplace does not offer ‘psychological safety’, or indeed physical safety given the proportions of incidents of harassment. Psychological safety is something that Mike Robbins and others have identified as essential for effective team working and performance. It is important for an individual’s wellbeing for them to feel included and welcomed.  

To be clear, bringing your whole self to work in terms of sexual orientation is not about sharing your sex life with colleagues! It is about openly being who you are. For example, if in a casual conversation a heterosexual colleague shares where they visited at the weekend with their wife/husband/partner, there is likely no moment of hesitation as to whether or not to reveal the sex of that partner. For a lesbian colleague (or anyone in a same-sex relationship), they have to make an assessment as to whether or not it feels safe to reveal that partner’s sex. Will they be judged or treated differently as a result? They might not be judged but the anticipation of that possibility (borne out by understanding or experiences of homophobia and misogyny combined) can lead to avoiding the potential risk. Silence is an insurance policy.  

If you’re thinking, OK, but we already have LGBT History Month and celebrate Pride season in our organisation. We also mark International Women’s Day. Aren’t lesbians covered?! Well, as the McKinsey report demonstrates, lesbians often have a different experience from other women in the workplace, so recognising that and supporting lesbians specifically to feel not only comfortable but welcome as they are is important. Furthermore, while some lesbians feel a welcome part of the LGBTQ+ ‘umbrella’, some do not. A 2018 survey by HER, a social networking and dating app for LGBT+ women, found that 31% of their respondents did not feel comfortable or welcome at Pride. This suggests that not all will feel included when those corporate colours go rainbow in June.  

What might your organisation do?

As with many other awareness-raising days, Lesbian Visibility Day has multiple purposes: 

  • to celebrate lesbian role models (within or beyond the organisation), supporting lesbians within the organisation to feel safe, included and welcome 
  • to raise awareness, educate and inform allies regarding varied experiences of lesbians, fostering understanding and cultivating a more welcome environment
  • to recognise diversity amongst lesbians (as with all groups, we are not homogenous!)

You might: invite an external speaker; host a workshop or training for allies; put up diverse imagery in your office space and on your website; feature stories on the website; consult with your staff to evaluate your workplace culture. 

You also need to walk the talk by, for example, reviewing your policies and documents for inclusive language; monitoring incidents and creating a culture where it feels safe to report and raise issues; consider mentoring/coaching for specific groups; examine cultural norms; diversify representation in decision-making. 

Aside from it being the right thing to do in terms of wellbeing and social justice, recent research has found that employees are 13% more productive when they are happy. So, can you afford to do nothing? 

 

This blog was first published on Thrive Global

 

 

Thoughts

Why a Resolutions Retreat for Women in Academia?

This week Times Higher Education published an interesting article covering The University of Glasgow’s welcome decision to make ‘collegiality’ an explicit requirement in its internal professorial promotions criteria. Examples given include recommending a colleague for an award, or crediting them as Co-Investigator on a major research project.

The image THE chose to accompany this positive news – an image of men helping other men over a wall – is somewhat ironic if you’re a woman in the academic world. For, one could be forgiven for reading statistics on the overrepresentation of men in senior academic and managerial positions as evidence of the fact that academia is already working efficiently in supporting men’s collegiality with one another.

I was motivated to offer my first Women in Academia Resolutions Retreat, coming up in January 2020, to support women to take some time out to focus on themselves. It’s important to continue to challenge the imperfect structures of academia, while at the same time to work on how we can support ourselves within those imperfect structures. Anecdotes, academic research and personal experience demonstrate that women can be notoriously bad at prioritising ourselves. Some men experience this, too, of course, and they are the ones doing the ‘housework’ of the department alongside the women.

Housework might take the form of being the (implicitly-) understood ‘go to’ person for students for support, being the person always assigned programme leadership, teaching introductory core modules or given administrative tasks etc. It’s a real skill – and indeed a compliment – being the ‘safe pair of hands’ who can hold that ticking grenade safely. But holding that grenade comes at a cost – you are likely holding it for someone else whilst they are getting on with the things they want to do.

While you’re holding the grenade for someone else, it’s very easy to lose sight of what you want to achieve. After all, if you lose focus, you will drop the grenade and it will, you feel, be catastrophic for everyone!

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So, how exactly do you focus on you instead? It’s key to take some time out to reflect on where YOU want to go.

First – put down the grenade (psst – it’s not actually a grenade and it’ll be OK!!)

Now you’re more relaxed, consider what you would like to achieve and what steps you need to take logically in order to get there. It could be that you already know what you want to achieve – great!  But it could be that you need to sit back and think about what is important to you. What’s important to you aligns with your values. If you set goals in line with your values, you are going to be more motivated and likely to achieve those goals.

To use myself as an example, once I realised I was working to an agenda that was not my own in a previous situation, I had a proverbial light-bulb moment: “it’s not my goal- I’m not motivated by it”. Without realising it, I hadn’t been realistically working toward that goal; instead, I’d been procrastinating and finding distractions. It was because I was not only not bothered about achieving it but actually felt it would be pretty worthless, judged by my own value system. It was a tough lesson as I had spent many years not realising this! But I re-set things and took steps toward what I actually wanted to achieve.

We all have contexts in which we work and things we need to do that we might prefer not to (for me now I’m self-employed, that’s my accounts!). But there are ways to work within our realities.

My goal for the Resolutions Retreat is that participants leave with a clearer idea of their goals, how to achieve them and with the resolve to take action.

 

 

photo of a notebook with a small icon of cat's face with the word 'think' printed underneath
Events

Women in Academia: Resolutions Retreat

25 January,  2020, 10AM-1PM, Newcastle-upon-Tyne

  • Too much to do?
  • Hard to find time for the important tasks?
  • Not sure what your priorites are?

Give yourself some space to focus on YOU.

This interactive workshop will support you to:

  • Define what is important to you, professionally or personally.
  • Set realistic goals to aim for.
  • Leave with a personalised plan of how to stay on track and achieve your goals.

Be guided to reflect, to learn and to set your goals.

Share the space with other women who understand the particularites (and peculiarities?!) of the academic world.

Join us in the supportive retreat of the Figgis Suite at the Tyneside Cinema to set your direction for 2020.

Tea and coffee will be served on arrival to help us get started!

***EARLY BIRD OFFER: Book by midnight on 8th December to qualify for a 30 min phone/skype call with Julie in February/March/April to provide personalised support in progressing with your plan!***

BOOK VIA EVENTBRITE: https://wiarr.eventbrite.com

Information about the Tyneside Cinema, including information for people with acccess requirements, can be viewed on their website.

If you have any queries about the event, or are wondering if it is right for you, please do get in touch. You can email me via my website contact form or find me on LinkedIn or Twitter

And do check out this blog on my rationale behind this event!

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An outstretched hand with a text label which says Coaching
Events

(How) is gender relevant to coaching?

I’m delighted to be offering a workshop for the Assocation for Coaching’s Edinburgh Coaching Exchange on 26th February. I’ll be asking participants to explore gender assumptions and stereotypes, unconscious bias and how to counter these in their coaching practice. To book, click here. If you’re intested in this topic or in hosting a similar event for your coaching/HR professionals, get in touch!

Events

Righting Wrongs for Women in Academia

In September 2018, I was pleased to offer a workshop at the Contemporary Women’s Writing Association  Annual conference. The theme of the conference was ‘Writing Wrongs’ and I offered a session riffing on this theme entitled ‘Righting Wrongs for Women in Academia’. The workshop was a space to share strategies, experiences and thoughts on how to shift academic organisational culture, where 1 in 4 professors are women and where BME women are particularly underrepresented.