Melina Georgousakis is raising the visibility of women in health and medical research

Melina Georgousakis is raising the visibility of women in health and medical research

Five years ago, Melina Georgousakis founded Franklin Women, an organisation that unites women across health care sectors and create opportunities for networking and personal development. Why?

She wanted to support women in health and medical research to build stronger connections and foster professional progress, to address the gender equity challenges she saw during her decade long career in the sector.

She recently organised a “Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon”– where health care and medical women built and updated the profiles of accomplished Australian female scientists; part of a growing global movement to increase the visibility of women.

Less than two weeks out from our annual Leadership Awards Ceremony, Georgousakis answers are Finalists Q&A, as she joins four other women in the Emerging Leader in  Science, Health & Medicine category.

Our finalists are sharing some awesome career wisdom in these Q&As, as well as more on their back story and how they have emerged as a leader. See our growing hub for these Q&As here

And tickets to the 2019 Women’s Agenda Leadership Awards are still available at the time of publishing, here

Has your career in this field been planned or has it happened by chance? What put you on this path today?

My natural state for most things is plan plan plan.

However I learnt really early on in my career that while I can have a general ‘plan’ for where I want to go, there are many things beyond my control that have and will influence my career path. Looking back I would have never expected I would be where I am now so I am grateful I have learnt to become more open to opportunities that present themselves which I otherwise would never have planed for!

What are you working on right now that’s got you really excited?

I am super excited about the upcoming Sydney event the Franklin Team have been working on which is on the topic of Research Impact. In science sector there is a big push to encourage researchers to better identify and share how their work will have positive impact on society. However this is a skill we are not trained for and still developing. I hope this event will really help the FW community with this so they can incorporate in their careers.

What’s a key issue facing women in your profession or line of work right now?

Two things. Firstly, the way the research sector measures success which is built around tradition system of academic metrics (papers and research funding) which has a number of bias, and secondly, confidence among women working in the sector – which has been dramatically influenced by number one!

The best tip you’ve been given in your career?

Be true to your own journey. It is important to keep an eye on what is going on around you but don’t let the path of others distract you from your own true north.

How have mentors, sponsors or some other kind of support system aided your career, if at all?

Dramatically. I can honestly say I would not be where I am without the relationships I have had to call upon.

Over the course of my career I have had informal mentors/formal mentors, sponsors (some who I have known of like my PhD supervisor and others I haven’t!) and also career coach. The later is something I was recommended and although I felt really guilty paying someone to support me in my career it was the best investment in myself I could have made and I am still reaping the benefits.

As well as your career, what other priorities do you juggle?

Franklin Women is my side-hustle, which means it is pretty much something I juggle around my normal life. I have a really amazing day-job working for the Bupa Health Foundation where I get to partner with health and medical researchers to bring their projects to life and with the greatest impact.

I have an amazingly strong 3 year-old daughter who keeps my husband and I on our toes and a very wonderful network of friends and family who bring me so much joy who I don’t do as well at making time for and is a priority for me at the moment.

The juggle is actually about to get a bit more interesting as baby two is due in a month or so…..!

How do you manage your wellbeing and stay at the top of your game?

I know when I need to take time out. I start to get a bit frantic and it comes out in how I feel myself and how I interact with others. When I get early signs I am heading this way I call it early and let people know around me I need some time out – making it public helps me stay accountable.

I then pan for some simple things like booking in a manicure which forced me to sit still or going for a long walk somewhere secluded to listen to a pod-cast. When life has a constant to-do list it can be very hard to spend time doing ’non-productive’ things but I know that I am much better for it.

Where do you currently get news and info regarding your industry and career?

My best life-hack for doing this is setting up a google news alert with some key words I am interested in. This means every morning I get a single email with articles or stories in my industry across multiple platforms which I would NEVER be able to keep up with. I also follow reputable internal and external organisations to science, like womens agenda of course as well as subscription to NHMRC and Australian Academy of Science updates.

Got a business or career book or podcast you’d recommend?

I have a few favourites at the moment. Side-Hustlers (Carla Marie), Women with Clout (Jane Caro and Catherine Fox) and Thrive (Ariana Huffington)

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