Beyond Your Research Degree

Episode 11 - Dr. Hannah Roberts, Career Coach for Women in Science

January 24, 2021

Welcome to the Beyond Your Research Degree podcast from the University of Exeter Doctoral College! The podcast about non-academic careers and all the opportunities available to you... beyond your research degree!  In this episode Kelly Preece, Researcher Development Manager talks to Dr. Hannah Roberts, who works as a career coach with women in science.


Music from ’Cheery Monday’ by Kevin MacLeod ( License: CC BY (


Podcast transcript


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Hello and welcome to the Beyond Your Research Degree podcast by the University of Exeter, Doctoral College

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Hello and welcome to the first episode of Beyond Your Research Degree for 2021.

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My name is Kelly Preece and on the research develop a manager for PGRs at the University of Exeter.

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And I'm delighted for our first episode of 2021 to be bringing you a discussion with Hannah Roberts.

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Hannah did her PhD and a couple of postdocs and then became a career coach.

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So she works one to one with women in research and academia, particularly in STEM and scientific fields.

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So, Hannah, are you happy to introduce yourself? Absolutely, sir.

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Hi, everybody. I'm Hannah Roberts and Well first of all

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I have a degree master's phd postdoc in chemistry,

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and I spent eight years managing large multi-million pound projects between academics

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and industry and commercialising that research and parts of the commercialisation.

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I started a spin out company with three other female academics,

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and I was managing director of that company for two years and did all of that white having three children.

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And it was actually on my maternity leave where I decided that maybe I had outstretched

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outgrown the role that I was in in scientific project management.

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And now is the time to to make a switch.

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And so that's that was the moment where I decided I was going to be a career coach specifically for women in science.

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Amazing. So can we Take a step back from what you do now and talk a little bit about the spin out company and how it came about was.

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So that was you during your research degree, is that right?

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Mine;s a little bit more complicated, so. When I finished my PhD, I went straight into a postdoc.

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So I switch from chemistry to biotechnology at that point.

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And so I got really into the analytical side of mass spectrometry as a tool to help with sort of looking at the structures of carbohydrates at that

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time. Then I was two weeks.

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Well, I should say I was probably four weeks into my postdoc and I fell pregnant.

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So when I returned after my maternity leave and I kind of switched role at that point,

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say, when I started my postdoc, I was half project manager, half postdoc.

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But essentially that meant I was most of the time postdoc. So did the project management alongside.

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But when I returned and just came back as a scientific project manager.

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So at that point, I was managing lots of different these projects because I knew the technology really well.

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And one of the things that's a lots of funding bodies are looking for of obviously commercialisation is from these from these projects,

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whether that's licence agreements, whether that's spin out companies, whether that's patents or something like that.

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And we decided the best vehicle for this new technology in terms of the mass spectrometry was to do it through and through a new company,

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because that way we could get industry to be able to send those samples and all that kind of stuff independently of the projects.

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And that way we could start to then find our own funding and our own money to to make that a company in its own right.

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Well. I mean, it sounds impressive on paper.

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I'm not I'm not sure that's how I felt about it at the time.

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Yes, I can appreciate that. I think there's two things I want to pick up on that.

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The first is about kind of so there seems to be quite a shift in that to from kind of scientific

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research to project management and more kind of business and entrepreneurially related skills.

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How did you find that that shift in focus?

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And to be honest, I I missed out a bit from the career history because I try and make it sound succinct so that it's,

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you know, degree masters PhD Postdoc chemistry.

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So actually, between my degree and my PhD I went on a squiggly loop of not knowing what on earth I was doing.

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So I worked for Croda Chemicals on a graduate development scheme for a couple of years and tried lots of different areas of the business.

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And so I spent quite some time in sales because I thought I would be quite good at that and which I did.

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I did enjoy to degree. And and then I felt I was too far removed from the science.

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So then I got a business development, manager role in cancer studies and down at the Patterson Institute

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And that's where I learnt how to and a little bit more about how to write grants and then how to manage them and how to manage the funds of them.

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So I did that for a couple of years. Then I decided I need a vocation, so I'm going to become a teacher.

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So I did my teacher training for. Yeah. Wow. And yeah, quite a few different things.

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And then I oh this isn't for me. All the kids are stressing me out.

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They're not listening. It's not like being in university where everybody just listen because they want to be there.

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And I was on a real, a real spiral of I've got to find something because and everybody around me was

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off with their careers and I felt like I was just restarting all the time.

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And so I was actually offered a PhD by my old supervisor because it's the first time he'd had funding since since I left i was like

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Like, I'm just going to do that because that's where I where I excelled and where I could feel feel good again,

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because at that time I was quite anxious and having panic attacks and all kinds of things.

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So actually having that PhD set me back up on a path of sort of a good a good place to build a career from.

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To be honest. So and the PhD was kind of kind of a saviour for me, which is not what you hear from most people who don't necessarily.

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But I think it's really it's always really nice to have people who have the experience of do of doing a research degree.

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I mean, to end it being very much the right thing and the thing that they needed at that point in time, career wise, you know, and life, wise.

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Mm hmm.

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The second thing I wanted to pick up from what you said was about the fact that you started your postdoc within a very short space of time, you got.

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Pregnant. Yes. Went on maternity leave and the role changed.

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If you if you feel comfortable talking about it, I wondered, you know, if you could talk about.

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What that was like career wise in terms of, you know,

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going so soon into a job and then taking maternity leave and then coming back to a slightly different role.

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How what was that experience like? I think that's a concern for a lot of women.

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Absolutely. And because I'd had those different interim roles before I do my PhD at that point,

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I was 28 years old when I got married and I just finished my PhD So I really was at a time in my life where I was looking to to start my family.

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And I was in the last year of my PhD I looked ahead at the other women in the department.

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So I was in the Department of Chemistry and I found five of the women out of over 200 people.

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And I was looking carefully at what they were doing. And I think to two or three had children and I was very concerned.

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That's what what it looked like to me was that to make it work, it had to be all consuming, because in my mind,

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when I had children, I wanted to have this kind of maybe just work three days a week and I just couldn't see this elusive thing.

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That was a part time professor. It didn't seem to exist for me.

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But as is the nature of these things,

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I was recommended for a postdoc and it seemed like I was on this conveyor belt and it was the next logical progression.

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And that and having had when I went to the interview, which was an informal chats, because, of course, had been recommended.

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So I had this interview and it was just sort of proposed that well we had this postdoc.

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But it also needs to include some project management. You have that in your history.

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Are you okay with doing this? And and of course, I just say yes.

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Yes, of course. That's absolutely fine. And she was willing to wait for eight months for me to start.

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So I had time to finish up my postdoc and my experiments. I'm writing my PhD

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So a couple of months before I actually started the postdoc, I actually fell pregnant.

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And unfortunately, I had a miscarriage at that time. So my supervisor, my.

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who, I was moving to actually knew about that. So it wasn't a massive surprise to her when I started the job.

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And then, you know, a few a few months in, I said that I was pregnant.

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And she was she was really pleased for me and happy and and really supportive, actually.

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So it was more of a it was the time in the life. You can't kind of change the the biology of you can put it off.

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But for how long? Because I'm on that conveyor belt at that point. There's never a good time to have a child is there in terms of your carer

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And so my husband is five years older than me.

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So we were we just decided that was the time to do it with stability or without stability.

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And at least he had a very stable job.

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And at least with postdocs you know exactly how long the contracts for.

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So I found stability within the instability of knowing.

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At least that Coming on to what you do now, can you talk a little bit about that?

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The coaching you do and the particular focus that you have?

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Yeah, I think because of the experiences that I had and, you know, being on that conveyor belt but not seeing what I really wanted out of academia,

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you know, that part time professor kind of role and then having gone a completely sort of.

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Being moulded in a way to do a different position. But it wasn't necessarily using my natural talents and capabilities.

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So we actually had someone she was in the personal development sphere when we were running a meeting for one of these projects I was managing.

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And she used what's called talent dynamics profiling. And she profiled all of us in the team.

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And when I got my profile back, I was like, Oh, this isn't me.

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I've answered the questions as if I'm in my current role.

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But it's not my natural preference. And when we had a debrief about it,

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it was really clear that the role I was doing was the complete opposite end of the spectrum to my natural preferences.

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And that's and I was like, oh, I'm doing the complete wrong, wrong career.

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I'm in the wrong job here and I don't have the confidence to get out of it.

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So I didn't feel it was I had stability, I had another five year contract,

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I could keep kept rolling on and on and on, and I could design and do whatever I wanted within those roles.

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So and it was actually having coaching for the last two years before I finished that role that enabled me to

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have the confidence to be able to to move on to something different because my my first two maternity leaves,

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I actually worked straight through them. So I was concerned that I wouldn't have a contract to go back to.

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So I decided to say, oh, I'll just continue with my job while I'm on maternity leave.

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So that basically that I would be indispensible. And this is a common practise with lots of people.

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They they write their fellowships on maternity leave. In fact, most of the female academic said to me, oh,

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I wrote my fellowship the first twelve weeks of academia and of having a baby or I went back to

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work after two weeks and got a nanny or these are the kind of things people were telling me.

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So I thought, well, I should be doing something on maternity leave.

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And I did try. I did start try to write a fellowship, but I quickly decided I wasn't quite good enough to do that.

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At that moment in time, funnily enough. But actually having coaching those last two years,

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which came about as as business coaching through the company and but I found it really

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helpful at a personal level and having restored my confidence to to that level.

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I then went onto a third maternity leave and said, no, I'm not doing anything on this maternity leave.

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And having that time and space to think and explore different things and not

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maternity leave was really crucial to me than not actually returning to that role.

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And during that maternity leave, it was wonderful.

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You know, it's a really nice summer. I started a rock painting group and I was looking for loads of stuff.

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And then I found this thing online about Superwoman.

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I was like, oh, my goodness, it sounds just like me, you know, running at 200 miles an hour, pushing to prove myself.

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All this stuff. And when I entered into it, they had these foundational courses in time and energy management and and some coaching stuff.

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And I had to look at it. Did the courses and was like, oh, oh, I can see a link now between.

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Between this coaching stuff and the difference that I want to make within universities, particularly for women.

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When I made that link, I was like, I can do this through coaching, having being coached.

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I knew the impact that it had on me.

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And then I thought as a coach, I can then help the people to navigate this career path much more smoothly than I ever did it.

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And that's what's really important to me.

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Having having this smoother pathway, that doesn't necessarily mean continuing along this conveyor belts of academia.

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It can mean lots of different things.

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But finding the right pathway for you and the other part that's really important to me is having more women in leadership positions.

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Yes. In academia, but also the world around because we know that and the more diverse the leadership is and the better decisions that are made.

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So those are the kind of the two components that I'm trying to combine together within my own coaching company.

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And so you even though, you know, some academic, you're working a lot with academics.

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Yes, I my my coachees tend to be  from postdocs, I get a lot of postdocs fellows, group leaders and also similar positions in industry as well.

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And so it tends to be. Tends to be more of the way you've got a natural kind of career progression, say career transitions,

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say for postdocs it's that kind of lasts 12 months on the contract cause and get to be on the brain all the time, you know.

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Oh, my goodness. I've got to go to sort of line something up.

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And I've got lots of fellows that have done that whole or part way through the fellowship and not sure if they want to continue.

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Because of the stress and the pressures of anxiety and of academia and and it's around, one,

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helping people to manage the current situation more powerfully and more confidently with the right tools to equip them to do that.

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And at the same time, trying to figure out this piece about who they really are and what impact they want to make on the world.

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Because your value or your self-confidence can come from your vision, mission, purpose, natural talents and capabilities and your values.

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And when all of those five pieces are defined that so we can truly know in value,

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we'll be doing the thing that we love doing, finding fulfilment in it and getting paid what worth with as well.

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So those are the kind of key pieces for me.

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Yeah, um, I. I think it's really interesting that you said that you talk about that because it's clear how much of an impact,

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the kind of that assessment of values and reflection and had on you and your career path.

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And then the kind of having those conversations with your clients. And I know from my own experience, I used to be an academic and I.

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Did it for a number of years and then realised I was quite unhappy and.

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It was only when I took a step back for the first time in my life,

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I kind of had that reflection of my values and the kind of work life I wanted and the work life balance.

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I wanted that I realised I was in completely the wrong job.

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And that's the kind of started me on the on the path that led me to working in a professional services job in a university.

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But I know from experience when we kind of say to people or, you know, doing these kinds of psychometric tests or,

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you know, values, assessments and everything is really important to understanding why you want to go in your career.

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I think sometimes people feel a bit like, oh, yeah, all right, okay, whatever.

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And I think no  it really will change the way that you do things.

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For sure. It did for me, but on that point, I was that person who was too busy and I think these things are interesting,

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like, oh, you know, this is a researchers into management course.

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I'll apply for that. And this imposter syndrome workshop, I'd apply for all these things.

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I'd be booked on them. And then I wouldn't show up i'm that naughty person that was far too busy and important to actually turn up because

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I have too much work to do because I'm superwoman ing and I'm too busy like I've got I've got to be gone.

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at half past four to pick up the kids and I'm doing this and doing this and I can't

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actually find the time to go to the things that are most important to me.

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And so I think some of the things to address that actually the culture that causes the superwoman

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kind of archetype that prevents us from actually accessing these things in the first place.

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Yeah, absolutely.

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And and I think that is it's interesting kind of the focus that you have on on women and moving women through their career path and leadership,

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because, you know, we know that that is a particular problem that women face.

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Is that kind of that expectation or the expectation we put on ourselves and the

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expectation put on us by society and our workplaces to be that superwoman? Yeah, it yeah, it's a complicated beast, superwoman.

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So we have these sort of statistics that, you know, only and I saw it myself.

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So 43 percent of women will start with a chemistry degree.

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And certainly when I was doing chemistry, everyone around me looked just like me, you know?

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I didn't see a problem. And it wasn't until I got to that.

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And just looking ahead to that p h d to postdoc position where I really noticed.

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Oh. Two steps ahead of me. There's not so many of them about.

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That was the very first inkling I had that, you know, there was this kind of leaky pipeline.

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And now the statistics show and I quote chemistry. But you can look them up in everyone's own personal fields.

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But only nine percent of women become professors. Nine percent.

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And 43 percent going in.

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So this is a huge dropoff of an already of a pipeline of a conveyor belt that isn't going to be for everybody in the first place.

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But all of those women that start out, there's not many people making it through.

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And I sort of have a theory on this because I'm a scientist.

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I like more of a theory. So does this statistic that says that women are 60 percent more likely to suffer job stress?

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and burn out than men and there's some components to that, so first of all

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There's some work by Hofstedder. And he talks about masculine versus feminine coaches.

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And there are six different independent studies that feed into what determines the masculine qualities of a culture.

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But they came up with things like material rewards for success, individualism, competition is celebrated.

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These kind of qualities and the more feminine qualities were seen as collaboration and

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caring for the weak and the sick in society and and a more collaborative type of society.

00:22:16,000 --> 00:22:22,440
And interestingly, from the research, Japan came out as the most masculine country in the whole world.

00:22:22,440 --> 00:22:26,910
Unsurprisingly, actually, and Finland was lowest on the score

00:22:26,910 --> 00:22:32,350
Now, the U.K. was actually the ninth most masculine country in the whole world.

00:22:32,350 --> 00:22:44,530
Nine. And that was super shocking to me because we're swimming around in a soup that is celebrating this competition culture that drives Superwoman.

00:22:44,530 --> 00:22:49,290
And another factor to layer in on that, then, is also a personal paradigm.

00:22:49,290 --> 00:22:55,110
So I come from quite a masculine paradigm family because my dad works away Monday

00:22:55,110 --> 00:23:01,680
to Friday and my mom was in charge of the family superwomen her way through.

00:23:01,680 --> 00:23:10,910
And if we go through back a generation, my grandma was the only one to actually show up to work when bombs were coming down on their village.

00:23:10,910 --> 00:23:18,300
And because it's that kind of push through, show up, no matter what mentality in my family.

00:23:18,300 --> 00:23:29,430
And then layering on top of that, a workplace hierarchical culture where actually your your colleagues in academia are also your competition.

00:23:29,430 --> 00:23:37,680
And it's very hierarchical as well, because we've got, you know, professors, senior lecturers, lecturers, fellows, postdocs.

00:23:37,680 --> 00:23:42,130
You can see how all those three things combined create this soup.

00:23:42,130 --> 00:23:51,030
And there's also a statistic to show you that women are less happy as a gender than we were 40 years ago.

00:23:51,030 --> 00:23:56,790
And that is irrespective of and of lots of different factors,

00:23:56,790 --> 00:24:02,640
like how how many children you have if you have children, whether you're married, single, divorced, whatever.

00:24:02,640 --> 00:24:12,660
The only exception is African-American women. And they are slightly happier than they were 40 years ago, but still less happy than the men.

00:24:12,660 --> 00:24:18,960
So why are we getting And even though now we have more opportunities than ever before.

00:24:18,960 --> 00:24:28,740
Why are we getting sick? Why are we burning out? So my theory is that this archetype of superwoman that so many of us are using

00:24:28,740 --> 00:24:34,440
is actually the very power that is preventing us from and being happy.

00:24:34,440 --> 00:24:37,110
The thing that's now burning is out in the workplace.

00:24:37,110 --> 00:24:43,080
So it got us these amazing opportunities, but it can't it's not actually sustaining goes long term.

00:24:43,080 --> 00:24:45,510
And certainly that's what I see a lot with my clients.

00:24:45,510 --> 00:24:54,150
Those in Superwoman may also be getting, you know, poorly once every three months, that sort of tonsillitis, seven times a year.

00:24:54,150 --> 00:25:04,740
That's what I used to get. It's that kind of pushing too hard for too long and has to be a different way to get stuff done.

00:25:04,740 --> 00:25:10,790
And what we say about Superwoman. Is that it's operating from fear?

00:25:10,790 --> 00:25:16,600
Because if there's an underlying fear there, then Superwoman is going to show up to make us feel even.

00:25:16,600 --> 00:25:21,140
And, you know, so we that we don't have to feel bad or or ever again.

00:25:21,140 --> 00:25:25,820
You know, it's the perfect antidote to imposter syndrome. So if I'm not good enough, don't worry.

00:25:25,820 --> 00:25:30,380
Superwoman can step in and save the day. So I don't have to feel like that again.

00:25:30,380 --> 00:25:35,080
But of course we do. And so superwomen just continues. Yeah.

00:25:35,080 --> 00:25:46,500
You know, all of this all too well my so much of myself and so many of the amazing women around me in that.

00:25:46,500 --> 00:25:51,660
So can you talk a little bit about. You're coaching them.

00:25:51,660 --> 00:25:57,030
So what it actually involves so you work one on one with clients.

00:25:57,030 --> 00:26:01,200
And quite often with with postdocs or people on that kind of career track.

00:26:01,200 --> 00:26:08,870
What what sort of work are you doing with them? What kind of conversations are you having?

00:26:08,870 --> 00:26:16,910
Here it is. It's a mixture of different things because, yes, I am primarily focussed on career coaching,

00:26:16,910 --> 00:26:22,290
so I'm looking at people who have formed that identity around their career.

00:26:22,290 --> 00:26:31,840
As is the major parts of their life. Typically, these people are really concerned with making an impact, making a difference, helping the people.

00:26:31,840 --> 00:26:41,640
And so the first piece of work that I always do is to drill down and get clarity on what the actual core of the problem is.

00:26:41,640 --> 00:26:45,810
And often that can come down to a number of different factors.

00:26:45,810 --> 00:26:50,230
But it could be the perception or the judgement of other people.

00:26:50,230 --> 00:27:02,120
You know, when we worry what other people think, it can cause us to pre-empt situations or overthink it in the moment or catastrophizing.

00:27:02,120 --> 00:27:07,880
So there is some of the things people might be coming to me with or procrastinating,

00:27:07,880 --> 00:27:14,000
because if we are very concerned about the perception or the judgements for the people,

00:27:14,000 --> 00:27:21,020
it can be hard for us to complete upon tasks, particularly the big tasks like grant writing or papers,

00:27:21,020 --> 00:27:25,550
because we know that we're going to get criticism in return

00:27:25,550 --> 00:27:29,390
So what I'm doing right at the beginning when I start working with people,

00:27:29,390 --> 00:27:40,430
is figuring out what the actual underlying challenges are for them by giving clarity from lots of different perspectives and angles.

00:27:40,430 --> 00:27:46,170
Once we have that, we set out a series of aspirational intentions for future.

00:27:46,170 --> 00:27:53,630
And we break things down in the very first actions that she can get to start to maybe towards those intentions.

00:27:53,630 --> 00:28:01,790
And if them from that point, they went to continue, we then look at the core of the problem, how the brain works.

00:28:01,790 --> 00:28:03,800
You know, that cyclic, iterative thinking.

00:28:03,800 --> 00:28:10,550
You know, how we create meaning from situations, attach emotions to them, and then that feeds into the next scenario.

00:28:10,550 --> 00:28:18,940
So we look at that iterative cycle of thinking and break that down with tools that you can apply to stop overthinking.

00:28:18,940 --> 00:28:28,070
And from that point, we layer in another piece of awareness about Superwoman and had disempowering archetypal cousins of the bitch

00:28:28,070 --> 00:28:32,060
the martyr and the victim, and we use a tool to tigger trap

00:28:32,060 --> 00:28:38,900
Those behaviours and I use specific NLP based tools to let go of that stuff because it's important

00:28:38,900 --> 00:28:45,720
to me to let go of the challenging patterns of behaviour before we start career planning,

00:28:45,720 --> 00:28:54,380
because you could have a very different outcome from if you're coming from a confident point of view as to when you first coming into coaching.

00:28:54,380 --> 00:29:00,290
So it takes me about six sessions to to really get to the core of it and move people beyond it.

00:29:00,290 --> 00:29:08,030
And then the last six sessions are really focussed towards defining your value and working on your leadership capabilities.

00:29:08,030 --> 00:29:16,910
So defining your value is that piece around vision, purpose, mission, natural talents and capabilities and values.

00:29:16,910 --> 00:29:21,740
And then from that piece, I'm also using another profiling tool.

00:29:21,740 --> 00:29:23,030
So I use talent dynamics.

00:29:23,030 --> 00:29:36,210
I also use the women's five power types in my coaching, and I help people to enhance the qualities of, say, for instance, if Superwoman shows up.

00:29:36,210 --> 00:29:40,580
superwoman doesn't make us a better communicator. It just makes us more anxious.

00:29:40,580 --> 00:29:44,930
If we're in an interview, we don't want it being superwoman. I'd be just very nervous.

00:29:44,930 --> 00:29:58,940
We actually want to step into the queen power type who is serene, calm in command, and he can articulate a vision really, really powerfully.

00:29:58,940 --> 00:30:04,160
So it's about showing people how to access those five different power types.

00:30:04,160 --> 00:30:07,280
Also, for leadership enhancement

00:30:07,280 --> 00:30:15,390
And then we do a five year detailed five year plan and design a network of support consciously to help put that plan into place.

00:30:15,390 --> 00:30:17,570
So when I'm removed from that picture,

00:30:17,570 --> 00:30:27,230
people will have the right people to help them get there in terms of mental sponsor's and other kinds of support as well.

00:30:27,230 --> 00:30:38,250
Perhaps the obvious ways that you all are using your experience of working in academia and in a research context.

00:30:38,250 --> 00:30:43,110
To work with them, relate to your clients.

00:30:43,110 --> 00:30:47,880
But one of the things we always try and kind of ask and talk about is how actually, you know,

00:30:47,880 --> 00:30:56,520
what what what skills and experience specifically are you using from your research degree, and your postdoc in the role that you're in now?

00:30:56,520 --> 00:31:02,150
Are there things that have transpired over really, really clearly or do you feel it's a completely different.

00:31:02,150 --> 00:31:08,920
You know, it's been a completely different kind of role and you've needed to learn a completely new set of skills.

00:31:08,920 --> 00:31:18,970
I think with em, with postdocs and PhDs, there are so many transferable skills that are really, really helpful and for any given job.

00:31:18,970 --> 00:31:20,770
So the things that I,

00:31:20,770 --> 00:31:30,160
I definitely fall back on time and time again are I did my whole PhD was on using different spectroscopic techniques and analysis.

00:31:30,160 --> 00:31:34,270
So I'm very analytical in the way that I approach coaching too.

00:31:34,270 --> 00:31:40,690
So for instance, I have those aspirational intentions for people's futures

00:31:40,690 --> 00:31:46,630
but it's not breaking down the analysis of what they said, this and this history session and noticing this.

00:31:46,630 --> 00:31:48,130
And I've I've got a tool for that.

00:31:48,130 --> 00:31:57,910
And I know I'm constantly analysing what people are saying and the context and bringing it all together into into a big picture.

00:31:57,910 --> 00:32:05,440
And I'm also analysing the progress that people are making on a fortnightly basis in terms of scoring's and rating.

00:32:05,440 --> 00:32:11,470
So I've become very scientific about whether or not the coaching is beneficial and working.

00:32:11,470 --> 00:32:19,930
And I need to see that progress to know that I'm making a difference and an impact to that person and tangibly.

00:32:19,930 --> 00:32:26,680
So I think that that those analytical skills are crucial and creating systems.

00:32:26,680 --> 00:32:37,920
So I don't know about you, but in my PhD, I had to create protocols and systems that were new to do everything and am and I'm always working in.

00:32:37,920 --> 00:32:41,710
Okay. I've done that with that client. But how does that translate to the next one?

00:32:41,710 --> 00:32:45,940
And how can I create a more streamlined system to do that thing?

00:32:45,940 --> 00:32:52,150
And how can I make things iteratively better on each cycle? So that's important to me.

00:32:52,150 --> 00:32:56,940
And the other part is in terms of in terms of the PhD

00:32:56,940 --> 00:33:07,000
I think creativity is one of the big things that most scientists, whether they know it or not, is a big part of science having that creative freedom.

00:33:07,000 --> 00:33:11,440
And that's what I find really exciting about coaching.

00:33:11,440 --> 00:33:20,680
It's having that creative freedom to to shape a particular session in a particular way, too, to when I work one to one.

00:33:20,680 --> 00:33:27,850
It's not a set programme. It's okay. They've brought this in this day and this in and this is how I'm gonna shape it.

00:33:27,850 --> 00:33:32,980
And I find that really exciting, that creative freedom.

00:33:32,980 --> 00:33:42,250
Although, yes, it often leaves me with many taps open at the same time that that's the nature of creativity.

00:33:42,250 --> 00:33:45,220
What else is important from that?

00:33:45,220 --> 00:33:54,580
I guess in terms of the obviously having run a business before was important in terms of just being able to do that thing.

00:33:54,580 --> 00:33:59,530
That was a big piece for me because it didn't feel as daunting to incorporate a

00:33:59,530 --> 00:34:05,950
company and then run all the books and that kind of stuff and set targets and goals.

00:34:05,950 --> 00:34:10,640
So. So that was also helpful to me as well. That's brilliant.

00:34:10,640 --> 00:34:17,080
And really insightful about how you apply those analytical skills.

00:34:17,080 --> 00:34:26,470
And I know when a lot of all researchers have an anxiety about searching for jobs outside of academia and that feeling of,

00:34:26,470 --> 00:34:32,360
well, how am I going to find something in. Spectroscopy.

00:34:32,360 --> 00:34:41,930
I said that right? And actually, you know, nine times out of ten people won't necessarily be moving into a role outside academia.

00:34:41,930 --> 00:34:52,770
Academia. That's specific to that discipline, but is about the application of the skills that they used to conduct their research.

00:34:52,770 --> 00:35:01,010
More than a topic they were researching. And so it's great to hear you articulate that so.

00:35:01,010 --> 00:35:05,100
So clearly, and, and eloquently

00:35:05,100 --> 00:35:15,900
It's yeah. It's really, really useful.

00:35:15,900 --> 00:35:20,920
Well. One is the other sort of things that we ask people.

00:35:20,920 --> 00:35:27,280
Because it's it's a key thing people like to know is. What are the main differences?

00:35:27,280 --> 00:35:33,270
You know, if we've done you've done a post, doc.

00:35:33,270 --> 00:35:40,830
Moving into kind of the business. So one to one coaching. What's different about working in that environment?

00:35:40,830 --> 00:35:48,270
Oh, my goodness. What's different about working in this environment?

00:35:48,270 --> 00:35:58,590
It's like I said, there were these terms, translational skills that I'm using, but it's completely different to to that world and that environment.

00:35:58,590 --> 00:36:02,880
Completely different. Yeah.

00:36:02,880 --> 00:36:11,940
So in academia, you have, you know, your colleagues that you work with and you can get people to bounce ideas off.

00:36:11,940 --> 00:36:19,080
And that's I always used to find that really, really helpful. And when I was maybe it wasn't my natural talent or capabilities.

00:36:19,080 --> 00:36:23,730
I knew exactly who to find to help me proofread my grant applications.

00:36:23,730 --> 00:36:29,400
He was really good on the detail because I'm more of the big picture thinker.

00:36:29,400 --> 00:36:34,010
Now, when I'm working in coaching, I'm I'm running my own business.

00:36:34,010 --> 00:36:41,850
I'm I'm by myself at the moment. So what I found superimportant, one of the big differences for me is I'm by myself.

00:36:41,850 --> 00:36:52,230
And so tapping into a big community of the people, doing the same thing as me, where I can bounce ideas off them.

00:36:52,230 --> 00:37:00,480
I have my own coach. I have a coaching mentor as well, supervisor so that I can get even better what it is I'm doing.

00:37:00,480 --> 00:37:06,900
Having all of these different people in place has been really important to bring structure

00:37:06,900 --> 00:37:17,420
that I used to have now into something that could be really lonely if it wasn't for for the.

00:37:17,420 --> 00:37:23,100
Yeah, I think that's a that's a really and I think a really key.

00:37:23,100 --> 00:37:31,950
Really key thing to consider when people are thinking about kind of what kind of environment they want to be working in.

00:37:31,950 --> 00:37:41,850
Yeah, when I'm I, I do I do have a two part workshop on defining your legacy, your life's work,

00:37:41,850 --> 00:37:49,290
and one part of that is the vehicle of choice that you use to express what it is that you want to do in the world,

00:37:49,290 --> 00:37:58,200
whether that's being an employee, whether that's in a not for profit sector or whether it's as a freelancer or an entrepreneur.

00:37:58,200 --> 00:38:03,660
Now, I would bracket myself as a freelancer as opposed to an entrepreneur,

00:38:03,660 --> 00:38:13,980
because although I like that freedom and I quite like an element of risk, I actually don't want a massive team of people to manage.

00:38:13,980 --> 00:38:24,450
That's not my strong point. My strong point is creating new stuff all the time and finding that creativity with helping the clients that I have.

00:38:24,450 --> 00:38:27,420
You know, that's the bit that really excites me, helping other people,

00:38:27,420 --> 00:38:34,980
making an impact and then doing new stuff all the time, whereas I don't actually want to manage a massive amount of people.

00:38:34,980 --> 00:38:43,710
So when you really understand yourself really well, you you can find the right vehicle of choice for you.

00:38:43,710 --> 00:38:50,970
Which doesn't necessarily mean that because you started a business, suddenly your having to be this massive entrepreneur all the time.

00:38:50,970 --> 00:39:01,980
So I am figuring out who you really are is a key part of which vehicle you'll choose to to express that in amazing.

00:39:01,980 --> 00:39:07,420
What advice would you give to someone who's thinking about.

00:39:07,420 --> 00:39:13,680
Taking the kind of path that you have, so moving into something that is more an.

00:39:13,680 --> 00:39:23,790
Kind of freelance, but also looking at something that's kind of coaching and developing people.

00:39:23,790 --> 00:39:30,410
Well, I remember having this conversation with the coach, our coaching certification programme.

00:39:30,410 --> 00:39:36,920
She was a research fellow. And had gone into the coaching certification programme,

00:39:36,920 --> 00:39:43,250
having never been coached herself, having never undertaken that kind of personal development.

00:39:43,250 --> 00:39:51,230
And she got there and she said, I really feel that if I'm coaching other people them perhaps I should have some coaching myself.

00:39:51,230 --> 00:39:53,300
And I said, yeah, definitely,

00:39:53,300 --> 00:40:04,220
because I had had coaching for two years before it made that connection that this was the way that I could make the difference.

00:40:04,220 --> 00:40:08,270
And that was really important because I knew that what a difference it made to me.

00:40:08,270 --> 00:40:16,430
So anybody who's thinking of moving into coaching or research development in some way and really do the work yourself

00:40:16,430 --> 00:40:25,070
first before you take all the people along because you want to be at least a few steps ahead of the other people,

00:40:25,070 --> 00:40:34,880
because we're all, you know, taking off layers, peeling back layers, becoming more of ourselves in the process.

00:40:34,880 --> 00:40:40,810
But it's great to get a head start before the clients, basically.

00:40:40,810 --> 00:40:45,380
Yeah, I think that that's that's really. That's really useful.

00:40:45,380 --> 00:40:49,370
And, of course, would be useful kind of thing to do.

00:40:49,370 --> 00:40:54,920
Anyway, are there any apart from kind of being coached are there, any experiences that you would advise?

00:40:54,920 --> 00:40:58,920
Current researchers to make the most was.

00:40:58,920 --> 00:41:06,980
Whilst that whilst they're still within that university system or is, you know, still completing their degree.

00:41:06,980 --> 00:41:20,390
Yeah. I think if I had my time again, I would do more of the courses that were available and actually carve out the time to do them.

00:41:20,390 --> 00:41:25,400
Because we lose so much time and energy on so many other things.

00:41:25,400 --> 00:41:32,990
And I would have a specific time of the week where I'm working specifically on my own self and my own career development,

00:41:32,990 --> 00:41:41,030
as opposed to blocking out all the time to do everything for everybody else and for the projects that I'm working on to have that self reflection,

00:41:41,030 --> 00:41:53,450
self development time factored in. And there are so many more things available within universities now and to take up on stage of them, really.

00:41:53,450 --> 00:41:59,210
Thank you so much to Hannah for taking the time to speak to me and to have such a rich and

00:41:59,210 --> 00:42:06,240
fascinating conversation about finding your fee and trying things out and identifying values,

00:42:06,240 --> 00:42:11,090
but also, you know, some of the very particular challenges that women face,

00:42:11,090 --> 00:42:18,250
not just in academia and research careers, but in the job market in general.

00:42:18,250 --> 00:42:34,006
And that's it for this episode. Join us next time when we'll be talking to another researcher about their career beyond their research degree.


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