A Summary of the EPDC Leadership & Professional Development Working Group
“People put a high value on education—up to a point. You go to school all through your childhood, then—complete undergraduate and, in some instances, a Master's and/or Ph.D. degrees. However, many people stop actively seeking to learn, develop, and grow different areas of their lives and interests when they graduate and move into the workforce.”1 As professionals, we must never stop learning and I don’t just mean continuing education. Self-improvement and personal growth are essential and precious parts of your career and life in general.
The pandemic gave us all time to pause for a brief minute to look at where we are in our professional lives, personal growth, and work-life balance. The SRAI Education and Professional Development Committee (EPDC), Leadership & Professional Development Working Group, chaired by Gloria Greene and Ian Carter, in collaboration with working group committee members (Katie Porter, Stan Sack, Debbie Pettitt, Moses Desmennu, Domenica Pappas, and Kortnay Woods) took this opportunity to focus on our self-improvement and personal growth.
This year we offered three webinars and a coffee talk dedicated to professional and personal growth, as follows:
- In January 2021, Webinar #1: “Mental Toughness in Uncertain Time” was presented by Stan Sack, Persona Strategies; Kortnay Woods, The College of New Jersey; and Gloria Greene, The University of Alabama in Huntsville. Learning objectives focused on understanding the concept of CO2RE (Control, Origin, and Ownership, Reach, and Endurance) and applying Adversity Quotient (AQ) to work/life balance.
- In July 2021, we offered a two-parter: Four Things You Should Know at Mid-Career: 101 and 102.
- Webinar #2 – 101 was led by Moses Desmennu, University of Ibadan, Nigeria; Adeola Oladeji, University of Ibadan, Nigeria; Sikirat Tijani, Versiti Blood Research Institute; and Gloria Greene, The University of Alabama in Huntsville. This session focused on taking a holistic approach to: (1) creating a checklist or blueprint for professional growth and advancement; (2) networking with the job you want (the importance of mentorship and mentoring in your career and recognizing your circle of influence to maximize it to your benefit).
- Webinar #2 – 102 presenters included Katie Porter, Hamilton Health Sciences; Erin White, The University of Alabama at Birmingham; and Kortnay Woods, The College of New Jersey. This webinar focused on tips to move from peer to line manager (getting to know your new team), managing chain of command and boundaries (moving from the first line to the second line), and how leadership skills change by level (implementing and managing change).
- Karen Bone, Florida Atlantic University, and Sikirat Tijani, Versiti Blood Research Institute, co-hosted a Coffee Talk in July 2021 on “Career Development from the Mid-Career Perspective.”
If you missed any of these, the Webinars are available On-Demand and are well worth watching. Coffee Talks are free to SRAI Full Members; however, they are not recorded for future access.
We have begun working on our 2022 programming and welcome your input on future topics you would like to see presented.
Finally, we want to welcome Holly Zink, University of Kansas Medical Center, to the working group. If you have not had the opportunity to do so, I highly recommend you read her articles Adaptive Work in Research Administration during COVID-19: Parts 1 & 2 in the April and May 2021 Catalyst Issues. Our co-chair Ian was absolutely on point when he stated that Holly’s articles “nicely illustrate the need for adaptive leadership and management.”
We see great things developing in the future under the Leadership & Professional Development Working Group. By the way, we are always looking for volunteers, so if you are interested in joining this working group or others reach out to SRAI HQ; better yet, respond to the call for volunteers; there is room for everyone. Additional information about SRAI committees and working groups can be found here: https://www.srainternational.org/about/srai-committees.
Remember, personal growth is a process of both understanding yourself and pushing yourself to reach your highest potential. Continue to ask yourself, who you are becoming and how you plan to get there; you are only limited by you!
/1/ The Cockroach Theory for Self Development – TERii. https://terii.in/teriitalks/cockroach-theory-self-development/
||Dr. Ian M. Carter, Carter Research Navigation Ltd.
||Gloria Greene, MA, CRA, Assistant Vice President, Contracts and Grants, The University of Alabama in Huntsville