About a year ago, WEST launched what has become one of our most popular series: WoW - WEST on Wednesdays Networking. These events are approximately once per month, with each event usually having a sponsor host in their company’s space. This constant moving of the event allows for a different atmosphere and new people to network with each time. The atmosphere, appetizers, and drinks are all great reasons to attend, but the real value lies within the community that gathers together for each event. “I love when corporations in the heart of the innovation hub here in Cambridge/Boston generously provide their locations. The inspirational surroundings help create a vibrant atmosphere that fosters both professional and personal conversations. Having been a WEST virtual mentor this past year, I particularly enjoyed meeting some of my mentees and fellow mentors at the events, helping to strengthen those relationships,” shares Jocelyn Dunphy, WEST Member.
Telling your manager you need more resources or training can be awkward. You don’t want to undermine your working relationship or appear less than capable to do your job, but you know these tools will help support your success in your role. You know you need to speak with your manager about this, but how do you walk the fine line between confidently asking for support and appearing underprepared for the task at hand?
A manager needs to be equipped with an arsenal of communication skills that cover everything from explaining the goals of a project, presenting progress updates, providing subject-matter training, and so much more. The most important communication skill is the ability to give and receive feedback.
WEST’s first event in the Summertime Management Skills Series focused on the importance of a manager effectively delegating work to their team. This skill enables a manager to remove the tasks from their plate that are preventing them from focusing on their big-picture and strategic planning. Delegating also enables a team to feel engaged, challenged, and fulfilled in their work. However, it also creates the need for feedback communication. Once a manager has delegated a task, they then need to give and receive feedback from their team to ensure that their team understands the task, and has the resources they need to complete it.
Mental health struggles can happen to anyone. Being in a negative situation for too long is bound to have its effects, and sometimes it takes a lot of work to undo that damage. In many cases, mental health struggles are a result of one specific situation, or a toxic boss or co-worker, something easy to pinpoint. In STEM, that can be true, but even more so, women have seen a higher rate of mental health struggles because of more industry-wide issues. There’s still a stigma, in some places, that women don’t belong in STEM professions or that women are not going to be as smart or as well-educated as men.
Topics: Gender Balance, STEM, STEM, Gender Balance, Communication, Community, Choice, Resilience, Mentoring, Coaching, Culture, Networking, Discussion, Mindfulness, Change, Collaboration, Emotional Intelligence, Self-Awareness, Empathy, Gender Pay Gap, Confidence, Challenges, Career Development, Empowerment, Mentor, Inclusion, Diversity, Organizational Culture, Corporate Culture, D&I, Gender Parity, Equity, STEM Women, STEM Leadership, Female Representation STEM, Hiring Women in STEM, Strong Women
Considering a job or career change can be daunting, or it can be the most exciting life change you plan in a year. The difference is in how you approach making your career change. You could jump in blindly and hope to stumble on the right job, hope that your new position is a good fit for you and that you find a position you can finally call your career, but hope isn’t a plan. Starting your career change process with the Career Possibilities Panel & Speed Networking series put on by WEST and sponsored by Gilead Sciences can be. This series features panels with specialized STEM experiences. Each event gives panelists the opportunity to share about their backgrounds, experiences, and current jobs, as well as giving attendees the opportunity to network with the panelists and other STEM professionals.
Let’s get uncomfortable for a second. Have you ever noticed something about a perfect stranger that made you think a certain way about them? What about when you look in the mirror? There’s so much to say about the things we focus on when we first meet a new person or see ourselves each day. If you stop and think about those thoughts, you’ll notice what’s called your unconscious bias. These are things you think, but don’t necessarily know that often change your perception. Not all unconscious biases are prejudicial, but none of them help you to truly listen and know another person.
Topics: Communication, Coaching, Culture, Discussion, Career Path, Career Development, Empowerment, Inclusion, Diversity, #WESTevent, Change Management, #WESTorg, Corporate Culture, D&I, Equity, Conversations
I have been thinking deeply about how women in STEM can have more seats at the table and not the kiddie table where one goes to do tidying up and office housework. The table where their voices are heard, acknowledged, and acted upon. Working in tech myself, I notice particularly how women of color are under-represented and white men are over-represented. Is this a result of the ways in which women are conditioned since childhood? The subtle messages they receive again and again? Are women being excluded in important conversations and meetings? Are their thoughts discarded or ignored? Are they not being given credit for their contributions? Is a lack of mentorship and sponsorship the problem? Is the motherhood bias compiled in under-represented fields? Do women of color experience this even more than any other intersectionality? In many ways women are made to feel as if they don’t belong and speaking up about it can come at the detriment of one’s job and security. However, this narrative needs to change. If we want more women leaders and more of them at the top, we need to be able to approach these conversations calmly and strategically. We need a framework for having inclusive conversations and with that framework we need to use it as a piece of workplace culture that emanates throughout the rest of the organization.
Topics: Events, Leadership, Women, Career, Communication, Network, Culture, Women in STEM, Upcoming Events, Professional, Tools, Trust, Conflict Resolution, Challenges, Inclusion, Ally, Allyship, Strong Women, Strong World
Another day headed into work, and you’re stressed about it before you even leave the house. You get to work and find that something just isn’t going your way, and you haven’t even finished your morning coffee yet. You’ve been stressed at work, about work, just thinking about work for weeks now and you know something’s got to give. Finally, it does. Your boss sends an email that just sends you over the edge and you decide you just can’t deal with it right now and take an early lunch. At lunch, you find yourself sitting there thinking, “It’s just me. This job doesn’t seem this stressful to anyone else, there must be something wrong with me.”
Mary Cheyne recounts sitting in a corporate meeting with approximately 25 other people, after a major issue with a project they had been working on. Every person around her had spoken up and provided their input, except her. She managed to leave the meeting without having shared any of her ideas, no matter how brilliant they may have been, because she was afraid of the judgment of everyone else in the room. Feeling ashamed, disappointed in herself, and unable to get out of her own way, she recognized something had to change.
Communication is the key to success in life, work and relationships… especially in uncertain times, it will decide whether we win or fail navigating a crisis.
And yet, often enough we face situations where our message turns into error, misunderstanding or frustration, simply because it was misinterpreted or maybe poorly delivered. And we’re left off with a feeling of being lost in translation.