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Women in Science

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Video clip: Amy describes how being consistent, resilient, and flexible have helped when building a spin-off company.

You said resilience was probably the most important characteristic, is there some way of increasing your resilience do you think or building up your resilience?

Okay, let me think about this. Okay, I'm just going to refer to rowing because I did a lot if that.

So, when we talk about resilience, and I was saying that resilience is an important skill for an entrepreneur to have, how could you build up your resilience is a really excellent question. It's quite difficult to answer that question, the obvious thing is to keep going, right, pick yourself up every time you get knocked down.

I think that certainly something that helped me build my resilience up was through sport actually. So, I did a lot of rowing when I was a student at Oxford. So, during my D.Phil. years, I raced for Oxford University Women's Boat Club in the Blue Boat at the boat race and we beat Cambridge [laughs]. That group of women I rowed with were sort of the strongest people I have ever met. You can't really do a full time degree at this University with the academic rigor that demands of you, maintain a something of a social life and perform at that elite level of sport without being incredibly strong and resilient.

And, of course, we had our ups and downs. It was an extremely difficult challenge to train twice a day every day and fit in, you know, ten odd hours of study or work in the lab. But we had, we were led by two coaches, so that's [Name] who is a GB Olympian and [Name] who was the Head Coach of the programme, and both of them had very complimentary perspectives and they both taught me a lot about resilience. And, I think, the key point was, consistency is key. Whether you're talking about racing, training, your lab work, your studying, starting a business, being consistent is the most important thing and with consistency you have sort of a, more of a sense of surety in yourself. And from there, you can become more resilient as you sort of layer up those, those experiences really.

I think, with a start-up company, certainly, flexibility is, is the key. It's certainly not a 9:00 till 5:00 job. I don't know what is anymore to be honest but starting a start-up company is not a 9:00 till 5:00 job. Sometimes it's a 9:00 till 9:00 job and sometimes it's a 9:00 till 3:00 job. Not very often. Certainly not anymore. But there are times when you really have to push and you are just about swimming, and there are times when it's a little bit more relaxed and you can be a bit more relaxed and have time to focus on longer term projects, e.g. longer-term strategic planning, for example.