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Board member news

The Cardiff Woman

25 September 2014

Professor Karen Holford – The Cardiff Woman

At the end of September I hosted the inaugural “Cardiff Woman” event.  This was the first in a series of events that aims to enable networking and discussion on topics that impact women in higher education.

It was great to be able to open the event with the news that the University has successfully renewed its Bronze Athena SWAN award. This recognition shows that we have a positive and improving working environment, but we can do better. Currently 42% of all academic staff in the University are women but only 24% of them Professors.  In Physical Sciences and Engineering, 21% of academic staff are women, but we have only five female Professors out of a total of 95.  Of course this issue isn’t unique to Cardiff, but we have to do more to address the current picture.

The focus of this event was coaching and mentoring, which have proved successful in supporting development for anyone at any stage of their career. We were delighted to be joined by three senior members of staff from IBM – Sarah Greasley, Joanna Hodgson and Sharon Moore, who were able to give us an insight into their culture and experience of local and global mentoring programmes.

With more than 50 members of staff in attendance (men and women), there was some great discussion around areas such as the importance of organisational development programmes; reverse mentoring; how to maintain a successful mentoring relationship and the benefits of mentoring outside your own organisation.  I really enjoyed hearing the many success stories and the rich discussion around a mutual commitment to career development for all staff.

I concluded the event by announcing the launch of the College of Physical Sciences and Engineering Mentoring Scheme, which aims to foster the sharing of knowledge between staff, connecting individuals who have institutional knowledge, specific skills, or personal experiences. As a result of demand from staff outside the College we have extended the scheme to include all staff across University.

We had more than 30 people sign up after the event, both mentees and mentors. If you would like more information on how to get involved then please contact Juliet Jukes by emailing