CYGNA: Be nice AND get the corner office

Reports on our 21st CYGNA meeting with an emphasis on negotiating your employment conditions

Since moving to the UK, I have been involved in running CYGNA. The network was established in June 2014  as a combined initiative of Argyro Avgoustaki, Ling Eleanor Zhang, and Anne-Wil Harzing, later joined by Shasha Zhao. The name CYGNA comes from the female version of the Greek word for SWAN (Supporting Women in Academia Network). The main objective of the group is to promote interaction among female academics based in the London area and to provide a forum for learning, support, and networking.

We typically hold four or five meetings a year with a mix of presentations and informal discussions. A quick overview of the topics covered can be found here. Yearly meeting overviews with pictures can be found here. In February 2018, I have started to write up our meetings as blogposts so from February till June 2018 you'll find reports on a mix of recent and older CYGNA meetings on my blog. A full list of the blogposts of our mid 2014 to mid 2018 meetings can be found at CYGNA: Resource collection for the summer holidays. We also maintain a readings and inspirations section for female academics and have a Twitter hashtag #cygna_london.

21st meeting 23 March 2018 (Royal Holloway)

Organised by Fiona Moore, Royal Holloway, University of London

Our March 2018 meeting was organised by Royal Holloway and we met at their beautiful Bedford Square building, located in the middle of Bloomsbury. Very convenient!

As usual we had a mix of regulars and new attendees. New attendees included my Middlesex colleagues Mariana Dodourova [left in black] and Orthodoxia Kyriacou [right in white]. Also first time attendees were Carla Millar [second left], our first emeritus professor and my long-time friend Axele Giroud [4th from left in black and light grey], we started our UK career together in 1997 at the Bradford Management Centre's wonderful Emm Lane campus.

Fiona Moore provided us with a fascinating presentation on the role of unions in universities based on her extensive experience as a case worker. With the USS pension strike, it turned out that it was a lot more topical than expected when we scheduled the talk mid-2017. We had a lively discussion based on her presentation, the general topic of negotiating employment conditions and internal promotion applications in particular. If you'd like to know more about this topic, you might be interested in my blogpost: It is soooo unfair, internal vs external promotion.

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