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.

 

 

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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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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.

Events

Coaching Taster workshop

 

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Institute of Fundraising conference, September 2018

At the Institute of Fundraising conference, 2018, I delivered a ‘Coaching Taster’ workshop, based on a ‘skills share’ approach.

I introduced participants to some basic coaching principles and models and then asked them to pair up to be coach and coachees with one another to test out their new skills!

The participants were fantastic and the room was ‘buzzy’ as they supported one another through some work-related issues. One participant stated she may even have found new career through the process!

It was a pleasure working with charity fundraisers who devote so much of their time to working for their charities and to allow them to spend little time on themselves.

 

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

Gender and Coaching October 2017

In October 2017, I was thrilled to bring together two of my passions – gender and coaching – in one place. I created and delivered a bespoke session for coaches and HR professionals attending the Coaching Exchange, Newcastle.

The Coaching Exchange is a welcome and relatively new initiative organised by Kate Shahid of Kate Shahid Coaching and Consulting. Kate is the North East regional co-ordinator for the Association for Coaching and the Exchange offers continuing professional development for coaches and Human Resources professionals. It is a place for learning and reflection on various aspects of practice.

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Gender and Coaching workshop, for The Coaching Exchange, Newcastle

In the session on Gender and Coaching, I encouraged participants to consider various ways in which the social construction of gender may impact upon coaching practice. We discussed how we might allow and account for gender in our coaching strategies and techniques. Among the things we touched on were differences between equality and equity, on imposter syndrome and unconscious bias, the impact of language and media in influencing our perceptions and on gender in organisational cultures.

The event was attended by over 30 coaches and HR professionals from the North East region and I was energised by their contributions. I look forward to the next Coaching Exchange!