My review: Women in Research | Powering Your Career in a New Direction

Letitia Oglesby
May, 2019

My quick review of a great WIRe meet up in London on the 2nd May.
The two speakers Ryan Chetiyawardana ‘Mr Lyan’ and Emma Cage were both very inspiring in the way they had followed their hearts and tapping into their entrepreneurial flair had achieved dramatic changes.

Ryan had with degrees in Fine Art and Philosophy (plus others) made the point that we have to choose qualifications and therefore careers too young in life to be sure of making the right choice. He thrives on change and the fear we all need to overcome to make that happen. If you are ‘shit scared’ you know you are on the right course. Failure is an opportunity to learn.

Emma had a very successful career in fashion driven by a passion to succeed, overcoming several obstacles on the way. She then followed her gut when fashion no longer felt right and now runs her own leadership company. Her inspiring advice included:

Trust your intuition, don’t ignore that niggle if you aren’t happy.

There is never to be a good time, don’t make it an excuse. You can have the dream, stop being so realistic. Leverage your skills and network, Be curious and explore. Trust own intuition. A team to support you is essential.

I was particularly inspired by the lady in the audience from Frost and Sullivan (I’m sorry I didn’t get your name) who had changed direction completely from recruitment to market research. All credit too, to Frost and Sullivan that allowed her to do it. If you are self-employed as Ryan and Emma you don’t have to persuade an employer to allow you to do something completely different. That can be really difficult; in the UK most employers want previous experience, as anyone wanting to change direction including graduates can tell you.

Ryan and Emma were excellent at showing us what is possible, a dream to drive towards. But for many of us, the dream is littered with hurdles such as family responsibilities, and employers that won’t consider your application with no direct experience.  Whilst a bit more mundane, it is possible to overcome those as the Frost and Sullivan lady showed us, with the right advice, support network and most important of all drive and determination.

Women in Research (WIRe) champions diversity in the marketing research industry by arming women with the tools to develop professionally, build connections and stay inspired. We believe in the positive impact of women in business. Our mission is to advance the contributions and voice of women in research, both for themselves and for the greater good of the industry.

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