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Reconnecting and Rebuilding in the Aftermath of a Pandemic

20 May 2021

A summary of our first Women in Advanced Therapies Roundtable Discussion

On Wednesday 12th May, the Women in Advanced Therapies community came together for a roundtable discussion to explore our positive and negative experiences over the past year. I want to share these experiences with the whole community, as it’s clear we’re going through similar challenges and solidarity goes a long way!.

The discussion got underway by exploring the reasons why we had all signed up to be part of WIAT and exploring tour common ground. There was a clear consensus that the pandemic had resulted in feelings of isolation and that belonging to a community and making new connections was important. So far, we’ve missed 14 months (and counting!) of networking and sharing ideas., which has been difficult for a group of women who want to learn from others’ experiences, understand how to navigate career opportunities and bridge the gap of inequality.

Everyone brought their whole hearts to the discussion, creating a safe space to be vulnerable and share openly. It isn’t easy to share very personal experiences but by the end of the roundtable I felt much deeper connections with the people around me; we were all going through very similar experiences.

We moved on to discuss the new working dynamic. It’s so much harder to connect with your team when working virtually, a few of us had even taken on new roles during the pandemic and had to build relationships virtually. Building trust with the team around you is vital and, while not impossible, is hindered when you can’t make a connection in person. It is also harder to put boundaries in place when working at home. Working longer hours, across time-zones (with no ability to travel), ever-growing to-do lists and generally struggling to find a good work-life balance. The parents in the group found this especially true; the pandemic has forced parents into a dual-role of full-time parenting alongside a full time job, making a work-life balance nigh on impossible. The fallout of this, being a group of ambitious women, is that we want to take on everything and succeed, resulting in a feeling of overwhelm.

Without doubt we should be proud of all the things we’ve achieved the past year. There were lots of success stories shared around career progression and opportunities, all opened up by flexible working. We’ve exercised our resilience and adapted to constant change, made possible through excellent support from colleagues. We’ve all found ourselves willing to do things differently and innovate, feeling invigorated by learning something new each day.

The thing I love most about working in advanced therapies is the sense of purpose we all feel, and this came out in the discussion yesterday. Yes, there have been tough times this past year but we are all serving a higher purpose, and this got us through the darker days.

This was such a refreshing and honest discussion with an amazing group of women, I am already looking forward to the next one!