In November 2017, Warwick was delighted to welcome Professor Louise Richardson, Vice Chancellor of Oxford University, to an event co-hosted by The Women's Academic Network and Inspiring Women, in conversation with Provost Christine Ennew.
Professor Richardson was generous in providing insights into her leadership experiences. She hadn't had a career plan but identified and took opportunities that presented themselves, following her interests and values, remaining open to trying different things. The meritocratic nature of the US was a different world to the UK.
Her advice: be self-confident as well as self-critical. If you feel you don’t belong in a role, don’t compare yourself to an ideal but to other people in the role. Building alliances and relationships have been key to success. Combining a career with young children is really hard - we need to do more, it should not be this hard. Institutions should consider when to offer professional development to women with childcare commitments so they are able to access opportunities. For example, not running critical events in half term, holding key meetings in core hours and providing day care that reflects the hours women work. Think of the whole span of your career - having young children is only for a short time - you may need to make trade-offs just for now. Women should work together and support one another. Get colleagues to draw attention to your work and its value - be unashamed about it.
Look out for future Inspiring Women events, which will be promoted through insite and inbox insite.