The Fellowship was just what I needed following my career break. It gave me a career boost and I wouldn’t be where I am today without it. 

Kathy began her career break after resigning from her post as Assistant Professor of Operational Research at the University of Warwick in 2011.

Prior to her career break, Kathy built up a very successful career within Warwick Business School (WBS) at the University of Warwick, and also at the University of Kent. Kathy obtained her PhD in Operational Research from the University of Kent and had a good career progression starting as a research assistant and then moving on to lecturer in management science (Kent) and then assistant professor (WBS).

Kathy had an illustrious start to her career in management science and operational research, including obtaining a large EPSRC grant as a PI shortly after joining the Business School at Warwick. This led to a very successful research project from which she generated a number of high-quality publications and won prizes for her work.

However, during this time, Kathy was juggling full-time work commitments whilst caring for her young son who was experiencing health issues. During her career break, Kathy’s son overcame his health issues and she went on to have another child.

My time at Warwick was very difficult due to my personal situation. I decided that I needed to focus on my family for a period of time without the pressure of full-time work.

After three and half years at home, with her children in school and nursery, she felt ready and keen to return to her career.

I was not completely happy during in my career break as I craved the academic environment but a high pressured rigid academic environment with fewer opportunities for advancement was not the solution either.

During her career break, Kathy had kept in touch with her field through an honorary affiliation with the University of Warwick, for whom she undertook a small amount of teaching and supervisory work. She also delivered executive education for her professional body, the Operational Research Society. Finally, Kathy continued to publish during her career break – contributing to four top tier journal articles, two peer-reviewed conference proceedings and one book chapter.

Regardless of the activities during Kathy’s career break and her ten-years of experience in operational research and management science, during her first round of job applications, Kathy was not shortlisted for any interviews.

I felt that my career break was now holding me back despite remaining committed to returning to academia in this period of time. I was not sure that I would be able to return to academia and was considering a change in direction.

Kathy first heard about the Daphne Jackson Trust through a job advertisement which led her to applying. She was successfully awarded a Fellowship sponsored by the University of Kent, hosted within the University’s School of Computing. She started her Fellowship in 2014 and successfully completed in 2016. She was shortlisted for almost every academic post she applied for following on from the award of her Fellowship. She had decided to remain in the same region in order for her children to have the least disruption and benefit from the support network she had built up with other working mums during her career break. She still believes this was the right decision.

I needed a position that would enable me to be a mother as well as an academic. I felt I was perfectly suited to a Daphne Jackson Fellowship.

I found the Daphne Jackson training courses were excellent and very well designed. The presentation skills course was particularly useful given the need to present teaching and research at conferences, invited seminars and at job interviews. I felt supported by my Daphne Jackson advisor and the Trust throughout my Fellowship. 

Kathy was appointed as a Reader in Management Science at Canterbury Christ Church University Business School in September 2016, two months before the end of her Daphne Jackson Fellowship. Today she is a leading expert in embedding stakeholder engagement in the process of simulation modelling and has the current position of Reader in Operational Research at the University of Kent.

Following the Fellowship, I am in a full-time permanent post at a level higher than my last academic post of Assistant Professor prior to my career break. My Fellowship gave me the confidence to apply for posts that were a good fit to my publication record. 

Kathy also co-founded PartiSim, which stands for Participatory Simulation, an approach to support stakeholder involvement in the discrete event simulation modelling process.