Leading with Kindness: One of 50 Leading Lights in the UK

I am thrilled to have been elected as one of the 50 Leading Lights in the UK for my work in supporting and mentoring young (female) academics at CYGNA and Middlesex University. Leading Lights are those who are deeply thoughtful of others, show humanity, generosity and compassion, are dedicated to supporting the well-being of others and to fostering a spirit of collaboration.

All 50 of us were featured in a quarter-page advert in the Financial Times on World Kindness Day [13 November] and were invited to a reception in St James Palace with HRH the Countess of Wessex. Unfortunately, no pictures were allowed, but we did receive a little booklet on the power of kindness which listed all of us [see below for the first page of listees].

I was nominated by the wonderful Jacqueline Brassey - a portrait of kindness herself - and supported by my equally amazing Head of Department Mariana Dodourova and Research Dean Stephen Syrrett. All three of them had kept this nomination a closely-guarded secret, so I was completely bowled over when I received the news that I had been elected. Middlesex University also did a nice write-up on the event.

Why is kindness so important in academia?

I started in academia in the early 1990s when there was still time to "grown into" an academic job. Over the last three decades, however, academia has become an increasingly stressful and competitive environment. It is my firm conviction that this is detrimental to scientific progress. By creating more supportive and collaborative research cultures, we are better able to do research that effectively addresses environmental, societal, and technological problems.

Since moving back to the United Kingdom in 2014, my academic passions have been to create a better understanding of the role of language in international business, to improve research evaluation in the Social Sciences, and to help (young female) academics find their way in the increasingly competitive academic world. It is this latter passion that has found its expression in CYGNA - a network supporting female academics - and my work at Middlesex University to actively foster a collaborative rather than competitive research culture.

Want to know more about the Leading Lights?

In preparation for the announcement of the 2019 Leading Lights on World Kindness Day, all Leading Lights had been asked to respond to three questions relating to the role of kindness in leadership. You can read my responses below and see everyone else's responses on the website.

Related blogposts