Dr. Jenni Sidey-Gibbons is a Canadian Space Agency astronaut.
What advice would you offer women pursuing leadership positions in their fields?
My advice is to find ways to feed your passion for your life’s work and to vocalize your leadership goals to your colleagues and mentors. Your passion will sustain you through challenges in your work while vocalizing your goals is a major step towards realization.
What is your definition of success?
Success as a leader could mean accomplishing your mission, but perhaps more importantly it means taking care of your team. By enabling those around you to do their best work, your chances of success are much higher.
If you could start your career again, what is one thing you would do differently?
I would trust myself more and share more of what I’ve learned with those around me. I’ve benefitted enormously from mentors so far, but if I could restart my career I would work on mentoring and passing on my own knowledge.
Have you had any mentors throughout your career? If so, what impact have they had on you/your work?
Absolutely. I’ve had the opportunity to learn from many mentors throughout my career. They’ve taught me technical skills, given me confidence, and encouraged goal setting and accomplishment. I believe mentoring is an essential part of success in STEM fields.
What are the keys to advancing equity, diversity and inclusion in STEM?
I think we must work on providing minority groups with role models, mentors, and allies in the STEM field. We have a long way to go towards equality, and in order to get there we must make sure everyone knows they have a role to play. We also must make it clear that we all benefit from equity, diversity, and inclusion in STEM. With diversity comes increased idea generation and more opportunities to solve problems in dynamic and unique ways.