In preparation for the upcoming GYA 2021 Annual General Meeting (AGM) online, 34 particpants – mainly newly selected members – convened for an online Science Leadership Workshop in early May. Throughout the sessions, up to 12 seasoned GYA members (see below) joined as mentors. The workshop was designed to  give participants space to reflect together on how to be leaders in diverse contexts: in their research contexts, in the institutions and communities where they live and work, and in the GYA.

Pre-AGM science leadership workshops have been held as a training opportunity for new members since the GYA’s 2018 AGM, expertly facilitated by InclusiveInnovation; this year was the second online workshop. Using a host of digital platforms, participants interacted in large and small groups to practice collective leadership tools. Despite widespread zoom fatigue and pandemic exhaustion, many new members found the workshop sessions refreshing and worth the time spent, as the atmosphere was consistently positive, and the skills imparted are useful in so many areas of life.

Reflections from participants

“The approach of reframing problems as questions may lead us to find innovative solutions, and thanks to this workshop I realized that, by simply reframing problems, I could find new angles, leading me to stop thinking of the problem as it is, and repurposing my thoughts towards the possible solutions. It represents an active and positive attitude to a challenging situation, instead of just pointing out problems or complaining about them. The overall message of the workshop about the importance of reflection made me come across this powerful expression by Confucius: Study without reflection is a waste of time, Reflection without study is dangerous.” – Luciana Balboa (Institute of Experimental Medicine- CONICET, Argentina)

“Go out of your comfort zone and learn! Replace YES, BUT with YES, AND.” – Encieh Erfani (Institute for Advanced Studies in Basice Sciences, Iran)

“This workshop helped me to see myself, my work, and my world a little differently, and with this different view I feel excited about taking on bigger and bolder challenges.” – Kate Crow (University of Iceland, Iceland)

“Deliberate small changes are the pieces for huge overturn, even when you are merely the first follower.” – Chan Siok Yee (Universiti Sains Malaysia, Malaysia)

“The workshop has helped me to think about different leadership types and my own work and personality in relation to them. I have also approached conversations at work differently ever since. Better communication can help us to find a faster way forward.” – Mirjam Brusius (German Historical Institute London, UK)

Contributing Mentors

A warm thank you to the following GYA members and alumni who participated in some of the new member workshops in the role of mentors, to guide and encourage new members and be there to answer questions about working within the GYA: Robert Lepenies, Derya Baran, Abhijit Majumder, Roula Inglesi-Lotz, Paul Mason, Monir Ahmed, Menattallah Elserafy, Binyam Sisay Mendisu, Pradeep Kumar, Chika Ejikeugwu, Tolu Oni and Vanessa Schweizer.


Read more about the GYA science leadership model, and related programmes and workshops here.