Laura McAllister is chair of Sports Wales and former Wales football international and national team captain.
What made you return to Cardiff to do your PhD?
I wanted to come home! I did my first degree in the London school of economics and then stayed in London for another year but I really wanted to come home and ideally get a job in Wales. Then my thoughts changed to a PhD and I was looking for a good university and Cardiff was at the top of the list.
Any tips for women trying to break through into their chosen industry?
Be really determined and believe in yourself. I feel very strongly that there is a huge amount of talent amongst young women. They have a more convoluted role to leadership roles often because there are more obstacles in the way, but I think it makes you a tougher person as a result of it. Then when you do get to a senior role you have more inherent confidence. So stick at it really, just believe in who you are and what you’re about.
Do you think having a degree and a PhD increased your employability and made your chosen industry more accessible to you?
Yes, definitely. I wanted to be an academic ideally and I think having a PhD is fundamental to getting a lecturing post. My first lecturing post was in Cardiff, then I got offered a promotion in Liverpool. So definitely doing a PhD in Cardiff has stood me in really good stead for what I wanted to do as a career and even looking back now having a PhD, even if I didn’t use it was a really good exercise in discipline, learning how to study and how to think.
How does it feel being awarded an honorary fellowship award?
I feel honoured and really privileged because it’s the University where I did my degree and its also the capital city of my own country and I feel incredibly privileged to be awarded the fellowship. I can’t wait to celebrate with all the students!