International Women's Day: The Anatomy of Resilience
Mental health, mindfulness, and my AWS exam experience
Cutover's predictions for 2021
March 12, 2021
This year’s International Women’s Day has brought together important discussions around human and professional progress, female empowerment, and how to foster the most inclusive environment where challenge and change are comfortable phenomena. At Cutover, we think the concept of resilience is central to this and has changed the course of history and human endeavor through generations. We have drawn on perspectives and experiences of resilience and navigating change from some of our leading Cutover individuals, kicking off the series with VP of Finance, Dhosjan Greenaway-Dalini.
What drives resilience?
Necessity. The need to overcome, adapt, defend, innovate, survive or simply prove to yourself that it can be done.
Support. Seeking and accepting support from both male and female advocates in your network. I have been fortunate enough to have talented, supportive males in my personal and professional life that embody the belief that “Together we go far”. A key part of my resilience journey is my tribe. If I’m ever having a challenging or frustrating day or week, I have 25 intelligent, ambitious females on WhatsApp that will instantly give me a boost and remind me where I’ve come from and where I’m going. Additionally, being able to offer support to others is empowering and motivating.
What's your personal and professional experience of resilience?
I love a challenge. I only learned to ride a bicycle when I was in my early thirties. There were some in my circle who doubted my ability to do it, so of course, I did! With the incredible excitement of my newly minted skills, I came up with the idea to pick a country in Europe and cycle across it in a week. I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it. As only a true novice would do, I decided I would fly my mountain bike to Switzerland and cycle the ‘Lakes Route’ from St. Gallen to Geneva in 10 days….solo. Yes, Switzerland. Needless to say, there were some trains involved in that journey. My journey had a few 'minor' blips...i.e. bike falling apart, heatstroke, a sore knee, card issues, incorrect distance and altitude estimates on cycle maps, thunderstorms, getting lost repeatedly, incredibly steep climbs (I became great at pushing a bike uphill). It was painful and exhausting, but I did it! It was such an amazing experience and can’t wait to do it again! It wasn’t how I had envisioned it, but I found a way.
Many years ago, I chose to do an MBA course in Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Design, because I wanted to learn how to build innovative, life-changing, successful companies. I never envisioned becoming a scientist or engineer with a radical new idea but was passionate about bringing progressive, empowering, and enabling new products and ways of working to the market. I wanted to know that my work helped to improve the lives of many. My focus is still unchanged.
The transition from a more traditional accounting-focused role into a commercially-focused innovation and tech environment was definitely harder and slower than expected. But each setback or alternate path I had to take gave me the opportunity to gain valuable, practical experience. This perspective, insight, and knowledge has time and time again proven to be very useful in my current role today. I feel fortunate to be able to do what I am passionate about and be working for the type of company that motivates me. A key element in building resilience is to stay focused.
What do you think is the outlook needed for effective resilience?
A willingness to adapt. It’s important to have long-term goals that you continue to work towards and set out a plan to achieve those goals. Whether it be a personal or professional achievement, it is also important to accept that it will take longer than planned, and the original route you mapped will be different from how you get there. It’s about taking incremental steps and also taking every opportunity to upskill and prepare for the next stage of that journey.
As well as this, I think you also need a mindset where you are not motivated by the approval of others. “The only person I compete with is the person I was yesterday.”
If you could liken resilience to one thing, what would it be?
Confidence - it recharges you and gives you fuel to take that next step in your journey. Resilience reinforces your confidence in your own abilities.
Which resilient individuals inspire you?
Maya Angelou - she overcame immense adversity to become a beacon of light, and someone who continues to motivate and inspire others to this day.
My grandmother - she has endured more than her fair share of setbacks throughout her life, including natural disasters. Throughout all of this, she has always conducted herself with dignity and grace. She serves as a reference point for what it means to be a good, selfless person.
What inspirational quotes motivate you?
“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style” - Maya Angelou
"I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work." Thomas Edison
“I never met an interesting person with an easy life” - Robin Arzon