Tag Archives: organisational psychology

Reflecting on the Organizational Psychology Summer Seminar – Existing in Uncertain Times

The Department of Organizational Psychology recently hosted an inspiring Summer Seminar on the theme “Existing in Uncertain Times”.

a line of six people stood in front of a stage with a projector screen behind them.

Photo of the Summer Seminar Speakers, (L to R) Dr. Uracha Chatrakul Na Ayudhya, Dr. Caroline Kamau-Mitchell, Aretha Rutherford, Cathy Lee, Dr. Hayley Lewis, Dr. Pedro Gomes

The event held on the 12 July at Birkbeck, University of London was filled with thought-provoking presentations and discussions, exploring the complexities of our ever-changing world and the ways we can navigate through uncertainty.

Celebrating Birkbeck’s Intellectual Pioneers

Dr. Caroline Kamau-Mitchell delivered a captivating keynote talk, commemorating Birkbeck’s 200-year anniversary by celebrating the institution’s intellectual pioneers. The audience embarked on a journey through history, paying tribute to inspiring figures such as Rosalind Franklin, Aaron Klug, Patrick Blackett, and others, who made groundbreaking contributions to various fields, from science to the arts. The talk emphasized how connecting with the shared identity of these pioneers can help organizations find meaning amidst change and drive occupational health.

Journey into the unknown

Dr. Hayley Lewis, an award-winning psychologist with extensive experience in occupational and organizational psychology, shared her journey as a first-generation university-educated individual in her family. Her insightful talk shed light on the uncertainties she faced and how these unknowns led her to explore the psychology of women who venture into entrepreneurship, an experience often fraught with uncertainty. Dr. Lewis’ talk inspired many, demonstrating the strength and resilience needed to navigate the uncharted territories of life.

‘Friday is the New Saturday’: The economic benefits of a four-day week

Dr. Pedro Gomes, an Associate Professor in Economics at Birkbeck and author of ‘Friday is the New Saturday’, presented fascinating insights into the economic benefits of a four-day workweek. Drawing from his first-hand experience in designing a four-day week pilot in Portugal’s private sector, Dr. Gomes revealed how this innovative approach can lead to increased productivity and improved work-life balance for employees. The talk sparked lively discussions about new possibilities in reshaping the traditional work model.

Finding my voice: Hitting the highs and lows

Cathy Lee, Head of Internal Communications for a legal regulator in Birmingham, shared her personal journey of returning to academia after more than three decades. Her reflections and findings from her MSc in Organizational Psychology and research project on workplace factors retaining older workers provided valuable insights into enhancing inclusivity and diversity within the workforce.

I am an endangered species / But I sing no victim’s song

Aretha Rutherford, a recent MSc graduate in Career Management and Coaching, was joined In conversation with Dr. Uracha Chatrakul Na Ayudhya, Assistant Dean for Equalities and Diversity at the School of Business, Economics, and Informatics (BEI) and Senior Lecturer and Programme Director of MSc Human Resource Management. They delved into the complexities of self-perception, social identities, and career development for underrepresented groups. Their intersectional analysis shed light on the cultural and contextual factors that influence career choices.

The Summer Seminar concluded on a high note, leaving attendees with a sense of empowerment and a deeper understanding of how to thrive amidst uncertainty. The conference brought together current students, alumni, and staff to celebrate Birkbeck’s 200-year history.

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“I gave birth to my daughter two days after submitting my final project”

Daniella Kroni has graduated this week with a MSc in Human Resource Management. Daniella completed her Master’s whilst being pregnant, caring for a one-year-old child and working full-time.

Daniella Kroni

Daniella started an MSc in Human Resource Management in 2017, her first foray back into higher education since graduating from Royal Holloway with a degree in Management with Human Resources in 2012. No stranger to juggling the demands of a busy life, having balanced a 90-minute commute, her studies, a part-time job and a 6-month internship while an undergraduate student, Daniella faced exceptional circumstances as a postgraduate student with Birkbeck.

Daniella was working full-time as a Human Resource Adviser and wanted to gain further qualifications to progress with her career. After weighing up several options, she felt Birkbeck held the most appeal because of its international renown and leading academics, along with its flexibility concerning students and their circumstances.

Like many Birkbeck students, Daniella had to manage the rigours of a postgraduate course with family and work commitments. However, she had even more exceptional circumstances to manage. Having completed her first year with a one-year-old child to care for, her second year coincided with her second pregnancy.  What followed was several months of hard work and dedication – it is no mean feat to be in the library for hours on end while heavily pregnant feeling tired and exhausted.

Having a strong support network as a student is always valuable and Daniella counted on support from a range of people. Her husband dropped her off at the library to avoid her taking the tube carrying textbooks and a laptop, and her mother helped with childcare and the school run. Daniella’s studies were sponsored by her employer and her colleagues took a real interest in her studies. Daniella found the College to be very accommodating, with her personal tutor offering her friendly support and encouragement throughout her studies and pregnancy, giving her the chance to take extensions and submit mitigating circumstances.

Ultimately, though, it was Daniella’s determination and commitment that ensured she was able complete her studies. It became a source of pride for her that she never gave up. Using her weekends and taking annual leave to complete essays, revision, and projects, she didn’t miss any deadlines or re-sit exams. It is a testament to Daniella that she refused the offer of mitigating circumstances and extensions, to the point of completing her final project just two days before happily giving birth to her second child.

Rightfully proud of her achievements, seizing the opportunity and remembering what motivated her to study were paramount in completing this marvelous feat. Following her studies, Daniella has secured a position with one of the world’s leading healthcare providers. It is a reminder of the opportunities that Birkbeck can provide and the fantastic students who work so hard to make the most of them.

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