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Honorary Fellows interview series

Honorary Fellows: Laura McAllister

16 July 2013

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!