This year Chiasma ran four workshops as part of their Career Catalyst series. Quite honestly, I was put off workshops in the past due to speakers that would get too technical, or activities during the workshops I did not really find useful. However, being a committee member of Chiasma motivated me to attend these workshops anyway, to help run the evening. And I could not believe how inspired I felt leaving these workshops and how many people we managed to gather for most of them. Here are my personal reflections of each workshop as an attempt to inspire you to attend some in the future! We’ve had four workshops this year:
Coding for the Future
Talk Science to Anyone
Get Rich from Research
How to be a Professional
What I loved about the Coding for the Future workshop was hearing Axton’s journey (host of the workshop), who pursued a graduate diploma in computer science after 3 years of biomedical science and then gained the skills to develop apps. This really highlighted the power and flexibility we have in changing our paths if we wished to do so. Right after introductions, we got stuck into coding and I was sitting with two friends. All three of us had medium - poor coding skills so spent the time laughing at each others’ inadequacies, racing one another and of course, helping each other as well. We all had a nice chat during the break, stuffed our faces with sushi and finished all the chips and drinks. Quite honestly considered this a really relaxed and fun workshop that took out all the frustration you usually get when you code alone.
Being on the committee gives you great opportunities to practice the things that you might find daunting. And for me this is PUBLIC SPEAKING. So I decided to challenge myself and MC the Talk Science to Anyone workshop. This started off with 5-7 students at the beginning of the evening, and in 10 minutes, we had a full house (did not help my nerves one bit). Having a chat with the speakers Dr Lakshini Mendis and Peter Kerr, who were extremely friendly was really helpful. The evening was filled with unique insights from Dr Lakshini Mendis who had recently completed an astonishing PhD in Neuroscience and some interesting points to think about when communicating scientific ideas from Peter Kerr. The final portion of the evening included questions from the audience via Slido, a tool where members can anonymously submit questions to get responses from the speakers.
Will Barker was one of the best lecturers I had during PGDip Bioscience Enterprise, and was immediately drawn to “Get Rich from Research”, since his talks always involve laughs, unique insights and great information. Something I truly appreciated that Will did, was his crash course on how intellectual property protection works, so that everyone would be on the same page, for the rest of his talk. He shared his career journey leading up to Mint Innovation with us, including stories that had the audience in laughter. Hayden from Firstcut Ventures spoke next and it was the first time I’d ever taken as many notes as I did, during this workshop. The topic of his talk (from memory) was how to gain investors for your business. Even though I was not seeking investors, this talk was extremely interesting and I gathered the following points:
- Grow your professional network! How? Write interesting Linkedin articles - you don’t have to be a professional writer to do this. Write about things you are passionate about and these tend to circulate around the LinkedIn platform.
Don’t give too much information about your venture to investors in email before meeting them in person, so that you have more to talk about.
During networking events, while all your friends and other individuals dash for the food, dash for the important individuals who are standing and are quite free - you won’t quite get this opportunity again once people are back with their food and standing in smaller fragmented circles that is hard to interrupt.
Gain the ability to explain your venture in one sentence
Drop the line “know someone who can chat with me?” while networking with people
Exchange business cards and email in <24 hours!
Research your investors and gaze over the Linkedin articles they have written - this gives you some conversation topics
And finally, the last workshop, the one that inspired me to write this blog post - How to be a Professional. I walked into this workshop not really knowing what to expect, how is someone going to teach me to be professional? Hahahaha I was not really sure. But once Russell Booth started speaking - I was hooked. It was not really anything I had not heard of before, but the way he presented himself, was done so in an empathetic manner. The core message this workshop communicated was to ask yourself “what are the matters and issues that concern me?” as this will be the best tool to guide you through your career rather than the anxiety inducing “so what are you doing to do after uni?” - a question we more commonly get asked unfortunately.
I could write an entire page about all the other technical skills Russell taught us in this post, but I will leave you reader, to find out more by coming along to a workshop next year :).
The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect that of Chiasma's as an organisation.