This was a position I’d have never run for if I wasn’t given the strong support of friends around me to stand for election. It was actually the second round of elections for the role of president and I was disappointed that I hadn’t had the guts to stand first time round. It almost provided the perfect opportunity for me to run! Some of the things that initially panicked me about standing were, “do people know or like me enough to elect me?” “If I get the position, will I have the authority required to challenge norms at the university?” “Will I be confident enough to stand in front of new people and speak?” “Will I be accepted in the postgraduate community?”, “will I let people down?”. One of the most interesting things about this is that I never initially pictured what I could do to bring good to the postgraduate body at Keele. I had my beliefs, I wrote my manifesto, I let people know my priorities, but ultimately it came back to “am I worthy enough to stand in this election as the head of a charity and student union.”
If it wasn’t for my strong support group around me, the sad thing is, I don’t think I would have run. I am not alone as a woman with those thoughts about taking senior roles in jobs. Women tend to do a lot of self doubting and this is something that I am definitely guilty of. The question is why?
Now I have the chance to motivate women, like me, who would never have dreamt in the wildest imagination to put themselves forward for these types of roles. Being KPA President has encouraged me to go so much further; ask challenging questions, hold senior management accountable and be part of huge decision making processes (all of which, might I add, I did not think possible of me before!) This position has given me the opportunity to really explore my skills and has shown me just how far I can push myself. Working with a committee and a board with strong female voices has bolstered my confidence as a woman in a senior role.
Whilst there is still always a part of me that gets anxious in meetings with senior leaders, particularly men, I know that my views and voice is important. I know that with the passion I have to better the postgraduate community on campus, I can overcome these feelings. I strongly recommend postgraduate women, who are worried about potentially running for an elected position at the KPA, to chat to one of our fantastic female officers. It is the support and backing that we give to each other that leads us to challenge the “norm”. I am proud to support the #SheShouldRun campaign here at Keele and really do believe it could change the lives of our postgraduate women on campus.
To find out more about Katie's role, please follow the link below!