Inspirational Women Bosses on Buzzfeed

I’d like to thank Buzzfeed for including a quote of mine in their 21 Tips for Slaying At Work from Top Bosses

I always chuckle at phrases to describe women who are doing great things (which should be the norm, by the way, and not a surprise to people) such as “bad ass” or, as the title of the Buzzfeed article uses, “slaying”. Using violent or coarse words is just not part of my personality and I find it amusing, and maybe that’s part of the humor and draw to titles like that.

But that’s an aside.  I think they did a great job with creating mini digital motivational posters. I was happy to see other science rooted women there besides myself, including Athene Donald and Danielle Lee.

I am currently an online lecturer for the Online Master of Science Teaching Biology program at the University of Illinois, but before I began that position, I was an academic professional who ran upper level laboratory courses that were large enough to require multiple graduate students to act as teaching assistants and also needed a handful of undergraduate prep and cleaning staff. Each semester I’d oversee between 5-10 people, though some were carried over from previous semesters, which always made life easier for them and me. I never had any one employee for more than a few years, meaning I had only a short time to train them and pass along the skills they need to become excellent teachers (and learners) themselves.

These were young, smart, transient employees who were usually a blank slate as far as the science they’d have to teach (I taught niche science courses in histology and also tissue engineering) and they usually had very few practical teaching skills, whether it’d be handling course management, evaluation techniques, or taking a balanced approach with students in these fairly challenging courses.

Some of the concepts they were required to teach were complex. Additionally, teaching was a new skill for most of them, so they required a good deal of support, training, and inspiration without feeling like they were being micromanaged, which makes anyone nervous and can impact their performance.

My career advice to those who would be bosses:

Give those you are in charge of all of the information they need to feel confident to do their job successfully, but with enough freedom to make the job their own. Be clear in your mind about the core overarching principles that you want your employees to abide by and remind them of those periodically. Young employees need the guidance because everything about the environment is new to them.  Your calm and cordial demeanor will convey that you care about them and that you care they perform well, not just for the job’s sake or to please you, but because you know this gives them a sense of accomplishment and a permission to learn new skills that they can carry to their next positions.


Thanks, Buzzfeed, for the mention and the lovely posters! 🙂