Making the transition from a company founder to leading a team can be a big challenge, but Jaye Goldstein, CEO and Founder of Founder to Leader, offers coaching, tools, and support for this critical transition. She joins Thinkubator Media to share some of the strategies and tips she shares when working with her clients.
Meet Anne Chisa, Host of The Root of Science Podcast
Thinkubator Media sits down with Anne Chisa, the host of The Root of Science Podcast. Her show is dedicated to amplifying the voices of Africans in STEM. Her podcast shares stories from Africans in STEM across the globe, and gives her guests the opportunity to tell their stories and share their research projects in their own voices.
Anne shares some of those stories, what inspired her to start the podcast, and tells us more about her own research in this video.
Bio Building Worksheet
There is a lot to remember when building a professional bio. Treat this worksheet as a mental download of your professional career and achievements. It may be helpful to go through this exercise with a trusted friend who is familiar with your work and volunteer experiences.
FDA Approves Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine: What Changes Now?
With the recent FDA approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, we should expect to see an increase in vaccine mandates from employers and agencies who have had difficulty encouraging staff and affiliates to get the vaccine. After the approval, the military said they would require their active duty US troops to get vaccinated. That’s over 1 million people.
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 30 percent of Americans said they would get the vaccine if it was approved by the FDA, but will this approval truly change the tide? A recent article in the Atlantic states that one in four Americans don’t plan to get the COVID-19 vaccine, and about half of Republicans under 50 say they won’t get a vaccine.
To truly change our abysmal vaccination rates, or at least make a moderate effort to increase the number of folks getting vaccinated, it’s important to expand on the communication shared about vaccine efficacy.
Urging those who have yet to get the vaccine is important, but the sharing of information is critical. Rather than, “See?! It’s OK, go get the shot!,” It’s important to continue to include data, statistics, and information about why the vaccine is the key to finally getting out of this pandemic (and also the awful alternative of contracting COVID).
Share reliable sources of information, encourage people who haven’t got the vaccine to speak with their doctor, and offer your support. The only way we are going to get this pandemic under control is if we reach an inoculation rate of at least 70-85 percent. According to Dr. Fauci, the US could have this pandemic under control by early next year if we’re able to ramp up vaccine administration.
It’s disheartening to think about how far we have to go to reach herd immunity, but we must continue to encourage vaccines and debunk the misinformation being shared about these potentially life-saving shots.
STEM, STEAM, & STEMM What Does it All Mean?
There is much debate about how to describe the broad fields of science and engineering, some of the most popular being STEM, STEAM, and STEMM.
STEM is the original description created by the National Science Foundation.
STEM= Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math
This acronym became widely used in the early 2000s following several reports that U.S. students were falling behind in these important fields. The U.S. education system used this acronym to quickly describe the areas that students needed to improve on rapidly.
Over time, additional acronyms were created to describe this field of work:
STEAM= Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math
STEMM= Science, Technology, Engineering, Math, Medicine
But, the question remains; why do we use so many different acronyms for the same field of work? According to The Innovation Unit, a focus on acronyms “gives permission. Permission for educators to respond to the needs of their learners in their context. Permission to engage those they serve in learning that is deep, relevant and applied: learning that matters”.
The inclusion of different fields within the same acronym brings more people into the conversation when describing how we define careers in science. Thinkubator Media uses STEMM to support our mission of inclusivity. Women in all of these disciplines are in need of support. The issues and barriers women face in fields such as the applied sciences are similar to the challenges women in engineering, healthcare, and biotechnology also experience. Our mission is to support and elevate all women in innovation.
Mid-March marks the moment many of us were sequestered into our homes as a result of the coronavirus. We all made significant changes in our lives, and the lives of our children, to help stop the significant spread of the virus.
As a result of this seismic shift, many individuals began to struggle with a work-life balance, and that is especially true for women. Vice President Kamala Harris’ recent op-ed in the Washington Post painted a stark picture of how the pandemic has disproportionately affected women. The numbers don’t lie: 2.5 million women have lost their jobs or dropped out of the workforce because of the pandemic. Five million women were business owners in February 2020; one in four of these women had to close their doors by April 2020.
As founder and CEO of an organization that aims to elevate the profiles of women in science, I have had countless conversations with women who have pursued a career in science. I have seen the mountains of challenges women are plowing through to make home, work, and career all possible. This pandemic isn’t the start of these challenges, of course. It has merely accelerated and further highlighted the work that needs to be done to build systems and supports to help women succeed in the society we live in—a system that has been built for men to succeed.
Here’s an example. When I ran for office, part of the job was to knock on doors, meet voters, and talk about platform issues. I was excited to talk about science policy, creating opportunities for affordable childcare, transportation, and, my specialty, communication. Instead of getting the hard-hitting questions I anticipated, I was peppered with inquiries such as, “What are you other than a mom?” or “What are you going to do with your daughter when you are at work?”
As a young mother working in a newsroom, I lost thousands of dollars in daycare due to shifts changes and was told these were the challenges of a working mother.
I have been paid less than my male counterparts serving in similar roles and spent a large part of my career fighting for job growth and titles when men within the same organizations could slide a proposal across the table and get the promotion they wanted.
When building my own business focused on the sciences, I was determined to level the playing field, providing a platform and programs that support women in science in a holistic and meaningful way – a philosophy that lifts women up and doesn’t jam them into a male mold or model of success. This desire to make a change was further cemented by the conversations about the needs women in science truly have.
I’ve spent countless hours on calls with women who are trying to manage (and teach) kids, run labs, maintain their research, keep up committee work, provide mentorship, secure grant funding, and teach. The task is impossible, but these women, despite the odds, are getting it done. We’ve shared tears, frustrations, and countless interruptions (some happy and joyful others not so much). We’re all trying to stay afloat, but right now, when women generally still carry much of the responsibilities at home, we have to look at how we can support and elevate women, and in my sphere, women in science.
Until we have systems and measures put in place that consider the needs and lives of men and women equally, organizations need to consider other options, such as providing resources to help with advocating and promoting their women, not just through workshops and trainings, but by providing a person or team to help do the work.
Women in science cannot be asked to find any more time in their day. What organizations and institutions should really be asking is:
What can we do to support the women who are struggling during this time (or any time, for that matter)?
What company structures have we embraced that don’t consider women and their success?
What is the retention rate (and success rate) of women within our organization and when, if at all, are women experiencing lags in funding, stalled promotions, and/or institutional biases that prevent growth?
As vaccinations continue across the country and as we begin to talk about what a post-pandemic life will look like, it is critical the information and data collected on women in science and the impact the pandemic has had on their careers are used to start making smart, empathetic, and meaningful change on what supporting women should truly look like now and in the future.