By Felicity Easton
From cellular biology to software development; a biography of roles and initiatives in STEM.
Happy International Women’s day 2020!
This year personally highlights a special occasion in my career where I have progressed from fulfilling roles within varied STEM environments (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) to a privileged position being an Operations Manager for Clockwork IT, making my mark in the commercial environment as a woman in business.
My career focus from the offset has engaged many distinguished STEM industries including Jaguar Land Rover, McLaren, and the National Space Centre. Large periods of my career have also been dedicated to academic post-graduate study and professional research roles which span multiple STEM disciplines from molecular cell biology all the way up to space. Irrespective of differences in desired deliverables academia and industry possess a commonality in their workforce – a plethora of smart, resourceful, and committed women. However, breaking the barrier into upper management remains a difficult task in both settings. Enter Clockwork IT. A company who have whole heartedly embraced a transition from an all-male work environment to welcome myself straight into a senior management role. And now that I’m in, it won’t stop there…
Throughout my career I have been a passionate ambassador for workplace equality and raising the profile of women in STEM through engagement initiatives. I am the lead organiser for Soapbox Science in the Midlands, where women embody the mantra ‘you can’t be what you can’t see’ by standing up on Soapboxes in busy city centre locations to engage the public in their research and answer questions about science.
In addition, I am an exceptionally active member of the local STEM hub, where I participate in events that engage local schools to showcase the varied careers available in STEM, performing demonstrations and organising activities. With the bonus of delivering a dose of ‘girl power!’ encouraging girls to continue studying STEM and think about STEM careers.
I have featured on the University of Leicester’s ‘Wall of Women’ as an inspirational figure for my work advocating equality in STEM. For International Women’s Day 2020 I have been invited to give a presentation about 20 triumphs and challenges I have faced over the past 20 years of my educational and professional career. There are still many hurdles that women in STEM face, but by sharing our stories – wins and fails, warts and all– we can help provide tools, tips, and most importantly self-belief to reach for the top!
Encouraged by my Clockwork team, I continue to maintain strong relationships with local Universities, with the aim of providing a perspective on entering leadership roles to my current initiatives. In the future I would love to join a mentoring scheme to empower more women to take more risks and keep pushing up the glass ceiling.
During my first few weeks at Clockwork we have already outlined initiatives that aim to welcome a diverse group of new people to the team, including student internships from undergraduates to post-doctoral candidates. We plan to expand our outreach into Primary and Secondary schools by engaging the local STEM hub.
Looking forward, we are heavily invested in building a company where diversity, equality and gender parity are championed and valued.