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When I was first invited to join RisingWISE I was sceptical about how much I would get out of it. As one of the delegates who isn’t in academia and hadn’t thought about the possibility of starting my own business, I wasn’t sure what to expect. However, the RisingWISE programme helped me in a number of ways and I quickly found myself applying what I had learnt to my job.

During one of the RisingWISE sessions I was inspired to apply to speak at a conference, something I had never done before, so inspired that I wrote the first draft of my application during one of our lunch breaks! Unfortunately, my talk wasn’t selected, but I was asked to give the same talk to my colleagues about inclusion in the workplace. I struggle with confidence when public speaking, but I could picture my group cheering me on and that helped me through this experience. Finding that I did not get selected but something great still came out of it has made me enthusiastic to apply for similar opportunities in the future.

Through the programme I have spent a lot more time thinking about where I want to get to professionally and which parts of my job are most important to me. I think a large part of this was due to how inspirational I found being around the other women on the programme. Before RisingWISE I rarely had discussions about my career development with other women. RisingWISE also gave me a space where I could discuss my ambitions without fear of being judged or sounding ridiculous. Following this, I delegated some areas of my role and had a discussion with my mentor about how best to leverage future opportunities. This has given me an improved sense of focus in my work.

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Katie Hannaford

Software Engineer, Team Lead, R&D with AVEVA