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I was in the first cohort of the RisingWISE program. As with many life-changing events, I almost missed it. I was a busy second-year PostDoc at the time and wondered if I could fit anything else in my schedule. Luckily, I applied and was accepted.

In a room with 60 extremely clever women, I remember feeling empowered by the energy. Instead of being a burden on my schedule, RisingWISE gave me new enthusiasm in my everyday work. From group and panel discussions throughout the program I understood the value of a mentor and of building a group of peer support. I did not have a mentor before and I have since asked one of my previous academic supervisors to be my mentor. Professionally, I went out of my comfort zone and found my first freelance consultancy, thanks to networking during RisingWISE. I was approached by one of the facilitators who put me in touch with the company needing the consultancy. My current employer offers an academic consultancy service for companies and I think that this previous experience has added to my professional worth and will lead to further opportunities in the future. 

There were many practical things I learnt: how to pitch my ideas or myself, how to communicate effectively, how to network better… However, the greatest value for me was the confidence gained during the program. The confidence that I am in charge of my career, not just in a dreamy future, but now, with the support of other brilliant women. I hope the RisingWISE network will continue to grow and empower all of us. 

Dragana Vuckovic

Lecturer in Biostatistics and Epidemiology, Imperial College London