Bath AUA

Bath AUA providing local support to help you enhance your career, boost your job prospects and create valuable networking opportunities

Posts By: Rosie Hart

How I became Dean with Professor Veronica Hope Hailey

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📥  AUA Talks

Veronica was asked by members of the University of Bath’s AUA to talk about her personal career path and how she came to be Dean of the School of Management and her role as Vice-President of corporate engagement.

From taking the wrong course, sampling various roles, saying no to a promotion and finding the time to have a family, Veronica reassured us that she had not set out a determined trajectory with an end goal of being a Dean.

Veronica described a feeling of slight disillusionment after leaving university, which she now attributes to having chosen a degree course which was not right for her.  Her subsequent aim to do something completely different led her to temporary roles of a varying nature and eventually to a commercial role with a firm of national commercial estate agents.  She realised through this that although the nature of the work was not quite right, she had developed a fascination for 'the workplace', the people within it and how it operated.

Her values steered her into the charitable sector where she first managed a team and was promoted to regional manager, so her career was on track.  When she fell pregnant she vowed to return to full-time work promptly.  As many new mothers find out, this plan took a change once the reality struck home.  Alongside motherhood, Veronica studied for a Masters and then a PhD which took her into academia and eventually to the University of Bath (twice!) and multiple children (five!).  She took the daring decision to turn down an opportunity for progression from the University of Cambridge as it would compromise her role as a mother.

Veronica describes how testing experiences in her personal life and family obligations allowed her to gain perspective and resilience.  She gave the AUA members some words of advice:

  • Expose yourself to excellence and make your own luck
  • Be prepared to take difficult decisions
  • Be aware of what is happening externally as well as internally
  • Make use of your support network
  • Be prepared to compromise (spending less on holidays)
  • Find someone who is confident in your skills who can be your spokesperson

Strong themes featured throughout including; appreciation of people/teams,  collaboration, honesty, integrity and trust.  These themes were emphasised in her responses to questions from the audience which drew our session to a close.

 

Getting out there

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📥  AUA Conference

Author: Rosie Hart, Programmes Officer - Faculty of Engineering and Design

So, next week I’m off to Manchester for my third AUA annual conference. Whilst this makes me feel slightly apprehensive, I have learned that forcing myself out of my comfort zone is good for me as a functioning human.

I attended my first regional conference at Cardiff in February which was one fairly intensive day, but with each session both interesting and relevant (a somewhat rare treat), it was a really positive experience.

I originally intended this blog post to be a review of my day at the regional conference but as it’s taken a while to get around to writing this (whoops!) I feel it is not quite as pertinent anymore and probably not as valid to others anyhow. Instead I want to focus on what I gain from going to talks, presentations or conferences in general.

Sharing and feeling part of something bigger

jigsaw
This is a big one for me. It’s good to share your knowledge; good for you and good for others. By sharing you learn and you contribute.
It can be reassuring to find out that others beyond your direct circle are working on the same issues and trying to overcome similar frustrations, sometimes even with success! We don’t all need to work independently trying to crack the same issues, we can share out knowledge and learn from others experience.

It also helps you to have time away from your role to think about what it is you want to achieve. In some instances you may even meet positive role models who inspire. I like to feel part of a team. I also like to feel part of a Faculty, a University, an education system/ network. To me this is comforting and positive.

Surprise learning

I consider myself to be healthily sceptical; whilst slightly dubious about how valuable a talk or event is going to be I anticipate that I will take away at least one piece of useful information. I have been to talks or workshops where I had high expectations and left feeling underwhelmed. I have also been surprised by talks which I have thought would be really dry or a reiteration of something I already know but have turned out to be witty or enlightening. Presentations are given by humans, these humans may be natural or highly trained speakers or they may be presenting for the first time, they are a mixed bag. What is clear to me is that if you don’t attend anything, you miss the opportunity to find out something new.

Making contacts

When I see ‘Networking session’ on an agenda, a shudder goes down my spine and I start to think about how I might be able to get out of that bit. For an awkward British person networking is an entirely unnatural process. However I do find that the more I go, the less alien it feels.

Ant network_02It does help to meet people outside your team to gain fresh perspective and support. You may find at some point, when you are struggling to think of a way to solve a problem, that you call on your contacts to bounce ideas off one another.

Don’t feel you have to go it alone, if it makes you feel better to walk in with someone you know, then why not? It can be a lot less intimidating.

Gaining confidence naturally

When you're feeling shy it’s hard to put yourself out there and to do something outside of your comfort zone. But gaining knowledge and achieving new things makes you feel stronger in your decisions and spurs you on to give things a go. With each success you become more confident. It takes time- more for some than others and you have to do it in your own style but keep at it, it’s good for you.