If we don't ask, we won't know

By Laura Fairley, 22 August 2018

Earlier this year I received an email from our Business Support Director, Claire Fleming, titled “Of Interest?” linking me to Equate Scotland’s Career Enhancement Programme. The reason I mention this is to show the fantastic support that I receive within Return To Scene. Sometimes your mentors/champions are not paired with you or need to be asked but are with you every step of the way.

Although in a market development role (since 2018) I am a woman in Science, Engineering & Technology (SET) – I have an Honours degree from Robert Gordon University in Forensic and Analytical Science. I joined Return To Scene Ltd on a ScotGrad placement year working within the Forensic Division and have been with the company since. Return To Scene specialises in visualisation software (R2S) and services within our main markets of oil and gas and law enforcement.

The career enhancement programme sounded like a fantastic opportunity and application submitted, I waited with anticipation to see whether I had received a place. I am extremely grateful to be 1 of the 16 women chosen to take part in this three-day programme.

The Programme

Walking into the unknown I had a sense of ease knowing that everyone in the room would be in a similar scenario. Everyone was extremely friendly and the range of careers from such a small cohort was impressive.

Marie Kane was the facilitator and oozed passion, energy and had a real ability of getting the most out of the groups discussion points.

The morning session was very involved, discussing key external and internal barriers that we felt affected career progression, and what could be done to overcome these. I think one of the biggest things I took from this was sometimes you need to put yourself out there and ask.If we don’t ask, we’ll never know.

Barbara McIntyre was our after-lunch speaker, her presentation was honest and thought-provoking and although her career is in a different field to me I took a lot from how she has approached and progressed throughout.

Personal brand was up next and we were asked to write down three to five adjectives on how we want people to think of us, we were then challenged to ask for anonymous feedback from our peers and see if these agreed. The feedback was promising and showed me that how I want to be seen, is how I am being seen in both my personal and professional life – something which I personally see as important as I want to be true to myself throughout.

For the next session we were asked to fill out a Myers-Briggs Type Indicator Assessment (MBTI), something which I had not heard of before, to give us a personality type.

I was unfortunately not able to attend session 2 due to circumstances out with my control but contacted Caroline Laurenson, also based in Aberdeen, who kindly collected the course notes and my MBTI results. In the following weeks we had a great catch up over lunch and shared our progress and next steps.

My MBTI came back as an ENJT (extraversion, intuition, thinking, judgement) and states that this type of personality tends to be: self-driven, motivating, energetic, assertive, confident and competitive. A lot of which I can relate to. On looking more into this type I came across a quote which I found very interesting;

“Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

Steve Jobs

The last session was as motivating as the first, challenging our ideas and sharing the attributes we each thought made good leaders. Each of us giving a four-minute presentation on what leadership qualities we have. Each talk was delivered in a different way from telling it through a story to straight to the point – but all were fantastic in their own way, showing that you should develop and own your own style.

Chelsea Jarvie, Security and Information Risk Manager, was this session’s after-lunch speaker. She shared her experiences as a Young Woman in Tech and I could really relate to what she had to say. Chelsea came across as an ambitious individual and through her work as a STEM Ambassador, I can see her inspiring a lot of youngsters into a STEM career.

The Equate Scotland Career Programme was a fantastic experience and allowed me to meet some intelligent, driven women all working in the SET industry. I am looking forward to catching up with the ladies in 6 months to see what everyone has achieved.

To sum up the programme in three words: inspiring, motivating and engaging!

If you get the chance to apply in 2019 I would highly recommend it!

Laura Fairley is Market Development Manager at Return To Scene. Find her on LinkedIn.