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I have less to say than I thoughtCiara Moore, Founder of Female Leaders At Fifty

I recall being asked to write a short biography for when I worked as a Management Research Fellow back in my early forties. I had secured working with the fabulous Professor David Buchanan and his team at Cranfield Business School . The first thought was “goodness me what’s that for?” and “why would anyone want to read my biography” even if it was only 150 words. The second thought was I have nothing to say. I thought “I am not clever enough!” at the time I had not even started my Masters! I had the cold hand of doubt on my heart telling me I was not good enough. I plucked up my courage and spoke to David in his sunny, book filled office, suggesting it really would not matter if I didn’t write a biography and that I had no Masters or PHd to add to my name, I had left school and gone straight to work at 18 fully intending to plan for further education the following year and get a degree in social care but the weekly brown envelope with money soon drew me in and I started to work in retail deciding I did not really need that degree .

So now I was kicking myself that I had to write this biography of 150 words about myself for an international renowned business school. I was a bit stuck. The training courses I lapped up over the years and even the Diploma in Management Studies felt pre-school next to these great scholars and researchers I was now rubbing shoulders with. David sat me down, smiled and said :Why did we invite you as a manager to work on our research?”I blinked back at him waiting for the answer (he is a researcher and skilled interviewer can wait for answer), when I realised I had to provide it, I recalled and mumbled that at my interview he told he needed me as I had (at the time almost 20 years in experience in managemnt’.) “That’s correct Ciara and what have you managed?” he asked. “I have managed services within large complex hospitals, implemented service transformation and innovation…..I stopped. “This Ciara is your biography, describe what you do and what you have done. We have employed you to work with us based on your experience. We have the degrees, we have the PHds we do not have your workplace experience and in depth knowledge of hospitals. We need you”.

I finally wrote my 150 word biography. Lesson learned. I mattered, I had something others did not.

Over three years ago I set up the Female Leaders At Fifty network. Since it’s Inception sharing biographies of the women who are part of this network, writing blogs about women behind the network has been really key.

Feedback on these biographies and the blogs has been overwhelmingly positive.

However, when I suggest or ask some members that they too could present their biography or write a blog they respond by saying “oh no not me, I’m not interesting enough” or “oh haven’t you got anyone better than me ?”

In creating a Bio you are branding yourself, you are telling people

this is what I stand for

this is what I do

here is what I can offer you.

All the women within our network are talented , they are creative, they are beautiful and most of all they are smashing their glass ceilings, raising families , caring for their parents, studying, taking on physical challenges …. we are every woman.

So if you haven’t written a bio ever or in a long time – do it now, You will be amazed at what you have actually achieved and I’m sure you won’t be able to contain it in 150 words……,

Going Forward

Looking to thrive in your 50s and beyond? Then you need helpful professional, leadership, and life resources like this one from Female Leadership at Fifty. Subscribe to the blog today.

This year’s vision is to build the network, create a brand-new website, and develop it further so we can create groups of advisors and signpost you and future members to what you need or are interested in.

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Creative genius at work-Mandy Nicholson. Women behind the network Female Leaders At Fifty

Creativity and Leadership are intertwined.

I spent my happiest years at art college learning so many different techniques, artistic mediums, and doing what students do! But when I finished and walked away with my degree, I struggled to find a job in the creative space.


Fortunately, I had a back-up plan, having worked in bars and shops since the age of fourteen, I decided to find a temporary job in retail whilst I found the perfect creative position. Guess what? Twenty-five years passed by and I had become a Divisional Executive!

I mourned my creative career daily but applied my creative thinking to my job and it was like magic. The ability to see the end result clearly, within seconds of understanding the problem set me apart from my peers and I became a supervisor, then a department manager, then a stock investigation officer, then a store manager……the gift that just keeps giving.

But guess what? Most ‘creatives’ have this innate power to creatively problem solve, yet they are often overlooked or lack the confidence to step into a leadership role and take risks. I want to break down those limitations that are in place, on both sides, and see and feel the change when women step into their creative power. That is why I decided to become a ‘Creative Genius Consultant’. Yes, I consult with Creative Geniuses to help them to launch, grow and scale their creative business and make more money.

I do this because I am one of those rare breeds that has been successful in both arenas. It is my duty to share. So, I manifested my Creative Business Academy to help female entrepreneurs to step into their creative power and become the leader in their life and business. I want to share some of my steps into ‘Creative Leadership’, because the more people that understand there is nothing wrong with them because they think and see ‘differently’ the better this planet we live on will become (personal opinion disclaimer – you don’t have tothink, see or be like me!). 

What you see IS possible: I know that you may see in pictures and those around you just won’t get it. Let me tell you a story. I walked into my first store as a newly appointed manager and there really wasn’t much that was right. The team were deflated, nervous about this odd woman coming in as a manager (after all there were no women managers), the store was seriously underperforming, unwelcoming and the service was shocking. I think I was being tested! But I saw what I knew it could look like, feel like and absolutely be like. It was vivid this picture in my head, all I had to do was figure out the ‘how’ and I knew this would already exist in the hearts and minds of that deflated team. I just had to coax it out.

Fast forward twelve months and we had the best performing store in the company (over 800 stores!). I was being ‘visited’ by everyone and their granny in disbelief that I could have sales of +376%YOY. 

What you believe IS true: I believe in my vision and in my creative ability to get there. I have always inherently believed it because my dad told me I could be anything and do anything I imagined. So, I imagined myself into everything I wanted. 98% of children are creative, unfortunately academic subjects are favoured and it is ‘trained’ out of them in favour of a proper job. Those who know creativity sets them apart in a crowd go on to achieve success whatever they do, and the rest settle and live within the constraints of societies expectations of them. Creative’s are often seen as the weird and the whacky in society, the dreamers, but they are also the change bringers. Think – Einstein, Da Vinci, Picasso, Michelangelo, Rosa Parks, Maya Angelou, Leymah Gbowee, J K Rowling and so many more.

You may not immediately associate all of these as creative, but they absolutely were/are creative thinkers and leaders. If I can feel it, then I can see it, then I can create it: Many creative people are communicating a feeling, a desire, an ending. It is the same in leadership. As the leader you want the team of people who you work side by side with to feel their way to a better future.

How will they feel to be a part of a high performing team?
How will they feel to secure their future success?

How will YOU feel when the job is done, and you can promote your right-hand woman and move on to the next project. It is like finishing that painting and starting a blank canvas, exciting and filled with whatever design is in your head. Feel it and create it. You have my permission to go and be the creative leader that you were born to be.

Everything else in life is just like the operation in a business, you learn how to do it, do it, retire and die. So, how much more joyful and purposeful can this journey we are all on be if we tap into our ‘Creative Leadership’ power and make the journey one of our own design?

Love & colour

Mandy

Creative Genius ConsultantArtist & Author

To contact Mandy

Website – www.violetauraart.comFacebook personal page, I am happy to accept friend requests: http://bit.ly/2TbzDdwFacebook Biz page: http://bit.ly/2uxk45ULinkedIn Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mandyrussell/Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mandyjnicholson/

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How and why you should switch to an IT career-Women behind the network series-Cody McBride

How and Why You Should Switch to an IT Career  

It’s never too late or too early to begin planning for a career that fulfills and excites you. If you’re still on the fence about which career field to choose, you may want to think about IT or tech. IT, computer science, and all of the related industries are always on the move, which means you’ll never get bored. Plus, the demand for IT professionals is bound to keep growing. 

Need more detailed and concrete reasons? These answers to frequently asked questions could prove valuable. 

Why Should I Choose IT? 

When you choose a career field, you should look at the prospects for job growth. IT-related fields are predicted to continue surging in the coming years. This means that once you finish your training, you should be able to land a position quickly. You’re also likely to earn a much larger salary than other professions. 

If you’re a woman looking for a new career, tech needs you even more. That’s because, despite the proven benefits of having more female employees, there are still sizable gender gaps across multiple tech and IT fields. By choosing an IT career path, you could help close this gap.

Do I need a degree?

If you currently have a bachelor’s, enrolling in an online master’s IT program could give you an edge over others in the same field. You can earn a master’s with an emphasis on information management, data analytics, or cybersecurity. Many of which are included on the list of growing job opportunities previously mentioned. Choosing an online program will also give you the freedom to maintain a job and meet other responsibilities while you earn your degree. 

Don’t have a bachelor’s just yet? There are IT positions you can land without a college degree, but you will need experience and training. For instance, you could become a graphic designer, a telecommunications specialist, or a digital marketer. Just bear in mind that while a degree may not be required, having one can boost your prospects and pay. 

Where Can I Find IT Jobs? 

With the right education, training, and experience, the tech possibilities are endless. There are countless employers who are consistently looking to hire new IT personnel, including many of the most well-known financial institutions. Many of these companies are located in larger cities but they are also hiring more remote workers than ever before. 

You can check the career section of these companies to find jobs, but you can also use online job boards to find positions for multiple employers. Both small and large businesses advertise their IT openings on sites like Monster, LinkedIn, Glassdoor, and Indeed (to name a few). 

How Can I Land My First IT Job?

If you’re looking for entry-level positions, starting your job search early is key — especially in the Information Technology and computer science industries. As you work on earning a degree or experience, also begin networking with other professionals in your desired field. You can also ask your instructors for recommendations and connections to help you get your first job. 

For more seasoned professionals, know the challenges of getting hired are different rather than nonexistent. You’ll also need to network in order to land an interview and callbacks, but unfortunately, you may also have to deal with some ageism. The trick is to keep the focus on your years of experience and on your willingness to learn new concepts and processes. It can also help to keep your appearance polished, professional, and appropriate for the position. 

Whether you’re looking for a boost in excitement or a boost in pay, a career in IT can deliver. IT experts are some of the most sought after professionals in the market. Plus, with the demand for technology growing, your future prospects are bound to grow. You just need the right amount of education and experience to make your dreams of a career in tech come true! 

Looking to thrive in your 50s and beyond? Then you need helpful professional, leadership, and life resources like this one from Female Leadership at Fifty. Subscribe to the blog today.

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The Accidental NHS Leader – Women Behind The Network-Julie Fulea – Female Leaders at 50

I am reflecting on my leadership experience writing this blog for @femaleleadersat50andbeyond a network of woman with wonderful experiences, skills and knowledge that I appreciate being part of. 

I think of myself as an accidental leader in fact most meaningful events in life are accidental or happenstance. I came into nursing over 30 years ago based on a bet, I ended up working in Romania instead of Albania because of a civil war and met my husband. I took a job in Oxford because a church nearby had a tenuous link to somewhere, I had lived in the North East, obviously a done deal then! 

I think it is more than fair to say I am not naturally aplanner with clear goals and actions to get there, assuming I know where there is. 

Today I am a senior matron supporting staff and those who use our services for older adult mental health. In a year tested us all in so many different ways here a few if things I have learnt about myself or have held on to throughout 2020.

1. “What is it like to be on the receiving end of me?”  

A lecturer on a course said this on one or our first sessions. He shared many other valuable nuggets of learning but it is this that has reasonated with me most. 

I am may not see myself as important or special but for some of those I work with I am THE SENIOR MATRON. That can be scary to some people and to be honest there are times that is not always a bad thing but it does mean the impact of what you say or do can for some affect them hugely.  The smallest interaction and acknowledgement really do matter and if I get it right I see the positive benefit. Those moments when I have not been on form, perhaps sharper than intended If I catch it I say Sorry, say sorry there and then or as soon as I can. I make sure they know its not their fault or problem and definitely no excuses.  No one cares that at the time you were contemplating inflicting pain on your husband for eating your packed lunch as a midnight snack and made you late. If someone is hurt or worried by your interaction that us all they can focus on, that is their experience and should be the centre of your apology.

2. My leadership Skills 

Over the last few months of things I have learnt about myself is I make people feel safe and this has been a year to excel at this ability. I think at times I have been the safety net that has allowed my colleagues to be the high wire artists knowing there is something soft to land on and keep them grounded. Its a part of my role that I love seeing people develop and be bold knowing that I have had a part to play in their development and success.

I notice their relief when you make a tough decision reminding them they had the answer all along and just needed support to get there. Or simply saying “I don’t know let’s see if we can work it out”.  I love all our dynamic and energetic leaders I need their challenge and drive it inspires me. We do need to celebrate those whose talent is to be the steadying hand encouraging those to believe that their “not good enough” is actually often verging on brilliant dedication and care. 

3. Find your Joy

Lastly find time for fun, be silly and enjoy bring silly. One of our housekeepers has a joke of the day. They are always silly make me laugh, set me up for the day and I appreciate it. I miss it when she’s not around. 

I probably irritate most of my colleagues but I can find something funny in most situations. I have used humour to take the heat out of difficult meetings and get them back into a more civil arena, to make my point about issues that are completely exasperating to me and to be honest it probably has prevented me from having high blood pressure. My latest drive is to have musical anthems to end meetings I chair. I like to laugh at work and if they create a matron for finding joy at work I’m applying.

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No Age Limit – Hayley’s Story : Women Behind The Network

By telling my story I hope to lead the way and raise awareness of Premature Menopause/POI. As well as helping older ladies push and challenge their GP’s, when they try to prescribe anti-depressants rather than HRT. Stand you ground and shove the NICE guidelines under their noses.

As a younger woman who has been dealt this card, I want to help older ladies with my positive outlook on life. I have never let it define me or take away my spirit for a good life. I also want older ladies to support me by trying to raise awareness, as if we all stick together, we can get us women the support we deserve.

I have it tough yes, but I am not going to let it ruin me. We have one shot at this so let’s live it as happily as we can.

Here’s the background to my story….

14 years old and told I had gone through the menopause… yep that’s right 14 years old.

I will never forget that day, sitting on the bed in a hospital room waiting for the Consultant to come into me and my Mum saying those words. My Mum balling her eyes out and me comforting her asking her to not cry as it’s ok. Thing is it wasn’t ok, but then I had no clue what the Consultant was even talking about.

At the age of 12 I started my periods like a normal teenager. Then after a year they just stopped. I was struggling to concentrate at school and the nights were hell. Waking up dripping with sweat and just feeling weird. That’s literally how I described it to my Mum one day. I don’t feel like meMum, I feel weird. So off we went to the Doctor’s. I explained what was going on and I was referred for a blood test and an ultrasound. Then two weeks later a Consultant Gynaecologist confirmed I had gone through my Menopause and that I needed to start taking HRT tablets.

I was told I had a womb but a small one and that they could only find one ovary. That was the first and the last time I was going to see my Consultant. I am now 39 years old. I literally have never been contacted since. Not given any follow up appointments, no help, no guidance to understand what had happened to me nothing. Put on HRT (Prempak C) and left to just get on with it.

Even when Prempak C was discontinued a few years back I wasn’t even informed by my Doctor. The pharmacist told me when I went to pick up my meds. Meds, may I add that I have to pay for… which I find astonishing. I need to take these daily and I had none left so luckily after a long phone call Imanaged to get in with a GP the next day. Who then told me there was no exact alternative and she was putting me on another brand. But that was horrendous. All my levels went crazy and my symptoms returned, and my bleeds were so painful. I then was changed onto Femoston which I took for years. But I have since learnt after a consultation with Dr Louise Newson that many symptoms I had presented at my Doctor’s with, were in fact menopausal symptoms. My GP never linked the two and instead prescribed me anti-depressants for insomnia. He should have sent me for blood tests, which would have revealed my estrogen levels were too low and my HRT infact needed adjusting. I have also realised since taking control of this and speaking out that I should have been having DEXA scans. I have never been for one in my life. I have since pushed this with my GP and I now have one booked for Jan 2021. 

As a child I needed to learn what it all meant, and back then there was hardly anything on the internet to read and even to this day limited material to a teenager experiencing this happening to them. This needs addressing as I felt lost for years as I just didn’t understand it all. Medical professionals looked at me like I was some sort of freak. If I was given a pound for the amount of times a doctor or nurse has said to “me you poor girl” when I answer the dreaded question… “what medication do you take”. I would have had loads of work done on myself. Which leads me on to how I have felt growing up… hating what I saw looking back at me in the mirror. The one job a woman is given to do, and I couldn’teven do that properly. I felt like a failure. A failure as a woman. 

I can’t say I grew up depressed I just learnt how to cope. I grew up not liking my appearance. I suppose I felt insecure about myself.  I struggled with relationships with guys as I knew I had it looming over me that one day I was going to have to tell them. Even when I did tell them or my friends neither understood. I even lost a friend over it as she said I was lying and that it was a sick thing to make up! Charming ay…  The response I got from the close few I did tell was always the same… It will happen one day mate, loads of women are told they can’t have kids and they do. 

Nobody understood what I was saying. Because no one was/iseducated enough, No one knows what it means. Even to this day people still do not understand. So, in my words I say it how it is…. To produce a baby, you need an egg and a sperm,and I don’t have eggs, end of.

Since I have spoken out, I feel like a huge weight has been lifted and in a way I feel free of it. I hope that by speaking about my experience out loud I can try and get this recognised more. To help educate all, that this can happen at such a young age as many are still so unaware of this. I have even been called a liar on some so called “menopause support groups” on Facebook, as people do not believe that this can happen. To help Mother’s if their daughters are showing any signs to get them to the doctor’s as soon as possible. I also want women to push at the doctors for them to listen to you. As doctors still sound like they are in denial that it can happen to younger women. As well as to get people to speak out and not hide it all inside, because you feel everyone will be gossiping about you.

Unfortunately, it happens to all of us females one day. There is no set age limit on it, which I am living proof of…..

The present day….

So life currently is busy, busy, busy, as aswell as working a 40 hour week, trying to get my story out there… me and my Husband are currently going through the Adoption process 😊We always knew it was the route we wanted to take. We had discussed in length the idea of going through IVF and he accepted my decision that it wasn’t something I wanted to do. I had already grieved for years that I was never going to have a baby of my own biologically so egg donation for me just wasn’t the way I would see myself become a Mum. In my eyes to be a parent it is to provide endless love, support and just adore your child. I know how much love I have to give,and for me to be able to give that to a child whose own parents cannot do this is a much more fulfilling way. I also now see that maybe things do happen for a reason as that reason is to find my Child and give them a much better life.

The adoption timeline is actually a lot shorter than it used to be. So please if you are considering this don’t let that put you off. Once you have got through the Pre-stage and into Stage 1 it can feel a bit slow waiting on training days and workbooks to be issued, but you just have to keep the faith that it’s just part of it all and it will all be worth it in the end 😊

We are currently heading towards the end of stage 1 and praying that we will make it into the second stage. That will be when we are working towards a date to go to panel to become approved adoptive parents.

Soooo, wish us luck 😊

Hayley

Contact Hayley on Instagram prematuremenopause14 and twitter @CockmanHayley