STEM sidebyside Mentoring & Sponsoring Workshop with Dr Marguerite Evans-Galea

22 August

On Thursday, 16 August 2018, Dr. Marguerite Evans-Galea, co-founder and CEO of Women in STEMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine) Australia, delivered a Mentoring and Sponsorship workshop to a group of Leading the Way and Stamina stream women at the Melbourne Exhibition Centre.  The event was part of a series of workshops and talks in the STEM sidebyside program led by veski and Monash University, with the support of the British Consulate-General.

As an intern with the British Consulate-General in Melbourne, I had the privilege of observing the workshop. Dr Evans-Galea fostered an atmosphere of honesty and openness from the outset – speaking candidly on her own life and career experiences as an academic. She revealed how a trusted support network of mentors came to be a powerful resource in her journey.

Dr. Evans-Galea herself is a self-titled Scientist, Executive and Entrepreneur who used mentoring to gain perspective on the broader STEMM ecosystem. For many scientists, mentoring can be an escape from the academic bubble. My project at the Consulate-General focuses on deepening research commercialisation ties between the UK and Australia. Overcoming the culture-clash between industry and academia could be key in improving intersectoral collaboration in both countries. Dr. Evans-Galea encouraged participants to leave their comfort zone by cultivating mentoring relationships in a range of different sectors. 

The workshop continued with participants being encouraged to reflect on their own mentoring relationships. Different models were discussed – directive, developmental and reciprocal. Participants had the opportunity to role-play each model in pairs to gain insight into different mentoring styles and identify what could be successful for them.

Following the workshop, Dr. Leonie Walsh, former Victorian Lead Scientist and Director & Founder of Productive Management Solutions, provided insights from her own experience throughout her life as a mentee and mentor.  Dr Walsh illustrated how mentors can be found in unusual places, with the majority of her mentoring networks having developed through relationships, and their ongoing success based upon trust, respect and being open to learning.

Certain STEM fields can often be male-dominated. As the only male in the room, I was placed in the position of many women who are often the minority in their workplace. However, I received an incredibly warm reception at yet another successful STEM sidebyside event.

By Zane Ali, Policy Intern FCO, British Consulate-General Melbourne.

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