Women Finding Success podcast: Episode 8 – Associate Professor Remi Ayoko

On this week’s episode of the Women Finding Success podcast, listen to Associate Professor Remi Ayoko discuss her research in online work, physical work environments and managing conflict in teams, and her career journey from Nigeria to Australia.

About this week's guest

Associate Professor Remi AyokoProfessor Oluremi (Remi) Ayoko is an Associate Professor of Management in the UQ Business School at the University of Queensland, Australia. She has worked at UQ since 2000, having previously taught at tertiary institutions in three countries. She is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (SFHEA), and her research interests include conflict management, leadership and diversity. The results of her award-winning research have been presented at both national and international conferences, and have been published in a variety of reputable journals. Professor Ayoko is the Editor in Chief of the Journal of Management and Organization, and on the editorial boards of the International Journal of Conflict Management, and the Negotiation and Conflict Management Research Journal. 


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Episode transcript

[Dr Elena Danilova - 00:04] Welcome to the Scholarly Soup podcast brought to you by The University of Queensland Library. In this podcast series we're going to meet with amazing women who found their success in academic and professional roles at the University of Queensland. They are resilient, smart, proactive, and more importantly, they're now working together to implement systemic changes that could make your career progression that little bit easier. If success breeds success, then listen to their stories and learn from the best. In this episode, I'm talking with Remi Ayoko, Associate Professor of Management of the Business School at The University of Queensland. Remi has had extensive teaching experience in tertiary institutions across three nations. She is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Remi is principal research interests include conflict management, emotions, leadership, diversity, teamwork and employee physical work, environment and territoriality. She has some great tips on how to survive and thrive. Associate Professor Remi Ayoko, good afternoon and welcome.

[Associate Professor Remi Ayoko - 01:28] Thank you very much.

[Dr Elena Danilova - 01:29] Remi, I wanted to start by mentioning some of your titles if you don't mind. You are an Associate Professor of Management in the UQ Business School at The University of Queensland, Australia, you are Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, you have been appearing on national and international radio, television, in the newspapers. So whoever told your mum it was a waste of time and energy to train a daughter was clearly wrong.

[Associate Professor Remi Ayoko - 02:02] Yes. I can say that looking back now.

[Dr Elena Danilova - 02:06] All right. So can you tell us a little bit about your childhood?

[Associate Professor Remi Ayoko - 02:09] Yes, thank you. And thank you for that initial introduction. It's a privilege and an opportunity to be able to come to those titles you just mentioned. So I feel privileged to have those titles. And I would like to tell you a little bit about my background. I grew up in Nigeria. And I come from the cultural group that they refer to as the Yoruba people. And I was born into the family, I was the firstborn in the family. And it took a while before my mom conceived a child, it took about six years. And finally, when she got me being the firstborn, she named me Oluremi Ayoko, which means 'God has wiped away my tears'. So incredible name, which I carried, often how. It was a little bit difficult for my mum at the beginning. She was a child of a pastor, and she really valued education, which she thought she would have. So what she didn't have was what she promoted in me. And she was very actively promoting me all the time and supporting me all the time. And by the time I finished my high school, I saw the sacrifices that she has personally paid, just to make sure that I was in school. So I think in my PhD thesis, when I finished finally I paid tribute to her. And I just do appreciate all that she has done for me. And wherever you are, mum today, I really appreciate you

[Dr Elena Danilova - 03:46] Remi, what was your first academic job? And what was it actually successful or not?

[Associate Professor Remi Ayoko - 03:52] My first academic job was in Nigeria. So when I finished my first degree, I got an opportunity to teach in a College of Technology, College of Technology, we call it at that point in time, we call it Polytechnic. And so I had this career in the Polytechnic where I was teaching English as a second language because my first two degrees were in education, and my teaching subject was English language. So I had the privilege of teaching adults and young people who won't go through the Polytechnic, either working as full time employees of organisations, or some of them just getting ready to get into their career. So that was a privilege for me to work with young people and adults at that point in time. I would say that my career was successful from the Polytechnic, I moved on to teaching at Ahmadu Bello University. And I would say that my career was successful in the sense that my students talk about the passion and the enthusiasm that come through when I'm in front of the class. I feel satisfied doing that. I gave them all that I think I know. And I was in a position to encourage a lot of young, younger people. And I thought, I probably did that for them. And at the end of the day, when you look at it, I felt like, Yes, I was privileged to do that. But I really worked hard to do what I needed to do. And that moved me on to teaching across the other side of the world in Papua New Guinea. And so, I did the same in Papua New Guinea. So yes, those careers were successful in that sense.

[Dr Elena Danilova - 05:39] In 2012, you co-authored a paper, which was called 'Online work: Managing conflict and emotions for performance in virtual teams'. It's like as if you had a crystal ball, right? As this research helps you navigate through the disruptions of the COVID. This time?

[Associate Professor Remi Ayoko - 06:02] Definitely. That was an interesting paper that I had the opportunity to do when it was a little bit harder to be an academic. And I did that at the Ipswich campus. When I started at UQ I started teaching at the Ipswich campus. And the Ipswich campus was, you know, situated in such a way that they wanted us to do teaching innovation, and then bring the innovative teaching that we have developed at the Ipswich campus down to St Lucia. So a couple of us who started out there, we started with teaching [ --]. And so we got some experience in facilitation because the way the subjects were set up, we had to bring them to life as much as possible. For example, I thought a cause that had an organisation all online. And at that point in time, whatever you were teaching in intro to management; so leadership, management, theory, etc, we had an example of SBP, what's the name of the organisation that was entirely online, so you just go to different sections of this organisation that was built online, and you can do your assignments, and you can do everything, all the exercises online. I had the opportunity to teach conflict management and negotiation at the Ipswich campus. And I was thinking about people are working online, they are working virtually, do they experience any conflict at all? And if they did, what kind of emotions were based that they experienced? So that was the thing that helped me, motivated me to set up a data collection points for these. So number one, I wanted to teach conflict alive, I wanted to make it alive for them. So because some of my students will say, 'I've never really experienced conflict'. I'm thinking, are you in another planet? You've never experienced conflict? So we're going to create conflict for you, in a way. So I decided that I was- okay. So we've learned all the strategies or theories around managing conflict. I wanted to see the application of conflict management from the students. So I decided that one of the major assignments would be that during the two weeks break, they will do the assignment and I'm going to put them in groups. And I will give them an essay to write and they will not see each other, they will have to work on the essay together. So we divided them into groups, they give themselves names in the groups. And then we put them on platform. We didn't have the platform as we do now. We had what we refer to as Web CT. So I got someone to create the Web CT for me, and then put all these people in different groups. And I was able to see what they were all doing, you know, getting agitated with one another, getting frustrated, with one another, they're having conflict and all the rest. So that was interesting. It took me about seven years to publish the paper eventually. And what was interesting was, it demonstrated how you can have a teaching focused idea. But you can still at the same time publish your research, even though that was not the aim initially. My aim was to teach the students but then I had this rich data, but then I translated into a paper. Yes. So virtuality was important for me at that point in time. I knew that there were people working virtually across the world. So we refer to them as, you know, blackjack teams and I wanted to just know how people are coping with interactions, group work, conflict and the emotions out of it. Again, it looks it looks like we had a crystal ball at that point in time. We didn't know that was 2012. We didn't know COVID was coming. Similarly, I published a paper just last year, early this year (2020), which we were talking about the future of workspaces. Again, it was like we had a crystal ball because we didn't know that the future was so close. We were thinking future like 5-10 years down the line, but the future is actually here. COVID just accelerated all of those things. And it was interesting. Now people can go back to the paper that I published in 2012, and see how people were coping in that particular research. And I have learned a lot from that. I learned that you need to be careful what you put online, you need to look after each other while you're online. You need to seek active feedback while you're lying from your supervisor. And so that that has really helped me to cope with this crisis that we, we just we asked the aim and we are going through.

[Dr Elena Danilova - 10:32] So the leadership in this crisis should be totally different.

[Associate Professor Remi Ayoko - 10:37] Definitely, definitely. Yes. One of the proposed ideas in the paper that I talked about this year, which is about the future of workspaces, what about leading in those workspaces. And I thought that will be different. Somehow, nature through leadership to me, during the COVID I put up my hand for a discipline leadership role. In February, I was nominated and appointed February 2nd, or 3rd. And I asked the person, he said to me, "Your role starts now". And in March (2020), we were locked down. So I entered crisis. And I thought, Oh, my God, what am I going to do? I've done a lot, a few papers around crisis management but, it wasn't enough to kind of prepare me for this. But I learned that communication was the real deal when you have a crisis matter. So I was communicating, communicating, communicating to my people. So throughout the lockdown, I stayed. I was working from uni, because we were allowed to work. I was doing performance appraiser. How could you do performance appraiser at home? My husband was there and my children were there, while working from home, it was too hard discussing individual personal issues at home. So I chose to come to work to do the performance appraisal for the six people. And in addition to that, I knew that people were hurting, a little bit on setting and uncertainty can be a big issue. So I was there. My aim was to be there. for them. My door was open, if you had an opportunity to lock my door, I was there. And I just was supporting them as much as possible and listening to them. Actually, I think I did more listening. And just listen, just listen, it's gonna be okay for us. Maintaining the 1.5m is gonna be okay, we'll we'll survive this. And I pulled out a few things from my cultural background, just to to tell them that people had gone through this before, and it's gonna be okay at the end of the day. So yes. The research, I have done, the papers I have written, my own background, just one little theme of what I know about crisis helped me to cope through and to do the leadership as much as I could. It's amazing. They awarded me the leader- COVID-19 Leadership Award.

[Dr Elena Danilova - 13:08] Congratulations. Yeah. That's amazing. Thank you. So what other interests fuel your research?

[Associate Professor Remi Ayoko - 13:18] When I started off with my PhD, I started with diversity and diversity management of it, for obvious reasons. I have been around the world. When I married, my husband decided we were going to have an adventure. We went from one country to another.

[Dr Elena Danilova - 13:36] That's amazing.

[Associate Professor Remi Ayoko - 13:38] And working in those places, actually, I gathered an experience that when you bring people of different cultures together, yes, literature says that they can click innovation and creativity and all of the, you know, great decision making processes. But in reality, there is something there that is standing in the way. What is standing in the way is the interactions that people have. Is the stereotypes, is the prejudices, is the biases that people have against one another one way or the other, remind you a woman, racial issues, orientation issues, you know, disability, all of those things. We carry all those things with us as we go around, and we view people through those lenses, and that's the thing that affect our interactions. So you for the same reason why you will have innovation and creativity is the same reason why you will have conflict because 'I don't think what you're saying is good. And you don't think what I'm saying is good'. And we're going to rub it a little bit. So you need people who will manage that conflict for you. So I think the thing that fuelled my passion was this idea of wanting to get somewhere with people who are different but finding solutions to how we can resolve the conflict, so then they can get on with their work and get productive and do what they need to do and be satisfied. So that was the thing that really fuelled my passion. So then we came to diversity management, and it's about group work. And it's about conflict management. And finally, I go to space for what's your office doing to you. We talked about people having satisfaction, and we have, we talk about these interactions, but we put people in open plan offices. So what's the constraint? Does your office constrain behaviours, or those it enable behaviours? And that became the baby research that I have right now, is about those offices, whether it's individual offices or open plan offices, how do they constrain employees behaviours? And how do they enable employees to behaviours? For example, even in the area of collaboration... you know, a few other things like that. How does the office enable collaboration? How does it disable collaboration? So those are the things that are passionate for me right now. And I'm having a ball doing that.

[Dr Elena Danilova - 16:04] That's amazing. That's really interesting, I'm getting quite intrigued. I'm going to look for more of your publications, that's for sure.

[Associate Professor Remi Ayoko - 16:13] Thank you.

[Dr Elena Danilova - 16:14] So Remi, from your perspective, what are the key challenges that women face in academia? So, do you have any advice?

[Associate Professor Remi Ayoko - 16:26] From my own personal journey and my own perspective, I think we still do not have enough mentors. And when I say this, many times, we may have to go out to look for mentors. But from what I see on the other side of the coin, there are other mentors who actually say, I'm happy to mentor you, I see you're going places, I'm going to, you know, mentor you. I wish that we have enough of that for women, that people will just come to you and say, 'Hey, I see you're going places', or 'I'll help you to get to places. Can we get together? This is the way it has been for me. And these are the things that I navigated. This is how I navigated them. This is my network, I want to show you to my network, and I have these opportunities'. But where I am now I don't need that opportunity or those opportunities to progress. You do. So I'm going to put you there. So then you can take on the opportunity so you can make progress. - I wish we had enough of that, I still feel that we need more either men or women that could just tap us on the shoulders and say, Yes, I'm happy to mentor you without us like going back to seek mentorship. And although a lot of people will argue that mentoring should be organic. And I agree with that. However, I think we need more people who will just say, I'm happy to mentor you. This is what it looks like for me. And these are my network. And this is, I just want you to belong here and I can show you how to move ahead. So I think we need more of that.

[Dr Elena Danilova - 18:08] And it's a bit of a two way street, isn't it. So mentors actually learn from their mentees a lot probably too.

[Associate Professor Remi Ayoko - 18:15] Definitely. And this is the thing that a lot of us means when they say you want to mentor people or you are happy to mentor people, we think we are giving back to the people we are mentoring. However we learn a lot from the people we are mentoring. For example, most of those guys are people, they have brand new ideas. And in academia, they are close to literature. They're reading all of those things every now and again, they come up with Yes, I have this idea. Can you help me to develop the idea, that kind of thing. As the mentor, you have an experience, you've gone through that journey before, you know how to help them to shape the ideas, you know how to hold them by the hand, journal publications, industry partnership, you know what to do with grant application. So when they come with this brand new ideas, your job is just to help them to, you know, shape that, tell them what to do, the kind of things that obstacles they might have along the journey and how they can overcome the obstacles, but you're also learning the fresh ideas from them. You're thinking, Wow, so this isn't literature. I didn't know that. So it's a two way traffic. I quite agree. It's a two way traffic.

[Dr Elena Danilova - 19:24] Yeah. Fantastic. Thank you.

[Associate Professor Remi Ayoko - 19:27] Can I backup a little, sorry. I need to do this. One other thing that I think we are missing is just to have the chance, just to have the chance to do what you want to do. Sometimes I think we miss on the chances that are available. So if there was a position or a role that was there. What would it be that women will be the first set of people to think about for those roles? Probably not. So we miss on those chances. And I think if were given those chances, we'll be able to prove ourselves that we can actually perform well in those roles. So just being given that chance, just trusting that we would be able to do a good job. I think that's also an important aspect. Sorry.

[Dr Elena Danilova - 20:13] Yeah. And I think as well, you know, sometimes you don't know what you don't know. So there's, if you have you have blind spots, right? So you can you can look at your career retrospectively. And you, you know, okay, so these were the steps that brought me to success. So but you know, as you were just building it up for yourself, like, if you're just, you know, at the beginning of your career, it's very difficult sometimes to have the vision, or know the means which exactly you were talking about.

[Associate Professor Remi Ayoko - 20:21] Yeah, you're correct.

[Dr Elena Danilova - 20:45] So wanted to bring you to maybe some reflection about some difficult times and in your career and how you were able to overcome that. And I'm looking at you and it just, you look like you don't know where to start.

[Associate Professor Remi Ayoko - 21:02] I think for me, personally, just moving countries was a little bit hard for me to start with. Raising kids at the same time and going to school. So my, I have, I have three children. And when I started my PhD, the youngest was two. And we just moved into the country. So I had to settle them, take them to school, do other things that mothers do. And I was working on my PhD, like part time, but full time in a way, and I was working full time because we need to put food on the table anyway. So I think combining all those things together was pretty hard. I look back now and I say to myself, Oh, how did you go through? I cannot, I just can't believe. But it was very difficult, just juggling those things together at the same time. But when it comes to a career progression, I think just distributing my time between research and teaching and impact on engagement was, again, another kind of balancing act. I wanted to be an excellent researcher, I wanted to be an excellent teacher. And I also wanted to be able to connect industry, get all the grants and all the other things that are, you know, associated with that. So just juggling that, when you are teaching you are teaching, we are in front of the class, it takes a lot of your time. So I had to borrow into my own personal time to do research. And then to get out there to the organisation. I think one of the most difficult things for me was because I didn't grow up here, I didn't have a lot of connections in the industry. So actually finding those people in the industry that I can connect with, that I can locate and people that can help me with my research was a little bit tough. It's tough. So those were difficult things for me as I was moving along my career progression.

[Dr Elena Danilova - 22:59] So did you just learn to prioritise?

[Associate Professor Remi Ayoko - 23:02] Yes, in a way. I think about them in terms of seasons, there is a season for research. And I was, I think early on, I learnt that during the holidays, were not really holidays, the holiday was the time to do my paper, to do the conference papers, to submit my papers for publication, to work hard on my research, that analysis, get onto my collaborators. So it's not really a holiday as such. But I also need to stay with my children, because they were on holiday. So in the mornings, I take them to do what they need to do. In the afternoons when they a little bit resting, I pick up my stuff, and I work to late, just to make sure that I get all of those things. When the semester starts it's teaching. So you just have to face your teaching, no one can stand in front of the class for you, which is something you have to do in time. So you just have to do what you need to do at that point in time. And then, during that process, if you have opportunity to do grants and to work with partners from industries, then you can do that. So I learned that you can do them seasonally. During the teaching, too, you can have, revise and resubmit come through and they give you like three months deadline. I have learned that you can, you know, like ask for an extension if you have to, just to give you a little bit of breathing space to do what you need to do. So taking it as they come seasonally has helped me to work through, and again like you said it's balancing those things out.

[Dr Elena Danilova - 24:42] It sounds like academic life is actually it's a lifestyle. Not really a job, isn't it?

[Associate Professor Remi Ayoko - 24:50] Yeah, in a way. And I always say that it's a life that is all about managing deadlines. So you have all these deadlines. You just go tick, tick, tick. I've done this. I've done this. So you go to, What's the next one? What's the next deadline? You cannot do that. But if you do it in that seasonal space, then it's a little bit organising for you. And it helps a little bit.

[Dr Elena Danilova - 25:13 ] So now I wanted to take us to a different topic a little bit. So you UQ seeks to foster and maintain a research environment of intellectual strength, safeguarding academic freedom. So are you still a BEL faculty Research Integrity Advisor? And at what point in time would you recommend that people get in touch with you?

[Associate Professor Remi Ayoko - 25:36] Yes, I'm still the RIA, as we call it, Research Integrity Advisor for BEL. I see it's a role that is encompassing for academics, and is the role that you have to stand for the values of the organisation all the time. What does this role entail? It's all about maintaining that integrity aspect of the research that you do, whether it's in seeking approval for your data collection of your research, generally, ethics. So I've been on the ethics committee as well before I became the RIA person. So it's all about doing things in the right way. And it's the kind of thing we teach when we teach PhD students or research students that integrity and ethics is an important aspect of what you're doing. And you cannot just collect data without getting permission to do that, and get through the ethics board and committee to make sure that everything is going well, because we want to protect those people who are giving us data. One of the things with the with RIA, is this, especially now is the idea that we have this conflict of interest, which people overlook. And it's our job to kind of promote that. I've been in this role for nearly eight, nine months now. The major thing that has come through is about Authorship. So people quarrel about 'I'm Author number three and I have worked so hard, I should be Author number one'. Or 'Author number one, they just pushed me to the last Author, Remi. This is not fair'. I've heard that a couple of times now. And I wish people would get in touch with me at that point when they are beginning to decide authorship. I was sharing with someone yesterday about the same problem that authorship doesn't mean that you stay in the same position throughout the project. Authorship can move, it can be dynamic, because if you thought you will be third or fourth author with limited contribution, if at the end of the day you are contributing more than you thought you would do, then of course this has to be another conversation again, with the people you are co-authoring with about where do you stand in the authorship arrangement, and is a conversation that people should have at the beginning of the project. Unfortunately, some people, some, some people are very trusting, and they kind of trust their colleagues that everything will be well, without settling those things at the beginning. However, UQ says to us, they've given us a form, you need to fill that form at the beginning, how authors will be arranged, who will be first author, who will drive the project, what will be your role, second or third, third or fourth, that kind of thing. And as the project shifts, and your contribution shifts, there should be another conversation again about where authorships should be. And I think I'm hoping that people will have that conversation, I want to get it out there that people begin that conversation once the project is starting so then they don't miss it. And we cannot be too trusting because then all of these conflicts arise because we are too trusting and we think everything will be okay. And at the end of the day is not okay. So you argue about Oh, no, I contributed more and I'm pushed to the last author. So I wish people will do that as early as possible in the project when the project is just beginning.

[Dr Elena Danilova - 29:08] It's about managing expectations as well. Really clear communication with the authors.

[Associate Professor Remi Ayoko - 29:15] You are correct. You are correct and I think that expectation is what the form helps us to do when they ask you to fill the form, so then we are all on the same page about what is expected from you and expected from the other person and expected from the person who is coordinating the project. So that expectation needs to be managed effectively throughout the project really.

[Dr Elena Danilova - 29:36] The other question actually I had, I have is about mentors. So we did discuss it a little bit before, but I just wanted to touch on your personal experience as well. Have you had good mentors in your career?

[Associate Professor Remi Ayoko - 29:50] I could make do with more mentors. I think that's my best shot at that question. I could make do with more mentors. In hindsight, maybe I could reach out for mentors, more mentors than I have had. And I also feel that in talking about mentoring, yes, I could I could make do with more mentors. I'm thinking about it now and I'm thinking if someone had mentored me through a lot of these things, would it have made a difference? And I think the answer is yes. So I could do with my mentors, I have people who supervise my PhD, but when it comes to where you are on the career trajectory, I wish I had more mentors.

[Dr Elena Danilova - 30:35] Is there any favorite quote that you have? Do you have any that just keeps you going or lift you up or...?

[Associate Professor Remi Ayoko - 30:43] You don't mind if I go back to my background to draw my quote.

[Dr Elena Danilova - 30:46] I would love to.

[Associate Professor Remi Ayoko - 30:49] There is a quote from my own theory background, about what to do when you are in the role, and how to grant yourself when you are in the role because sometimes people think I have this role, I have power, and I have all of these things. But that quote says to you, anchor yourself, be grounded, and think about what happens tomorrow. And if you don't mind me, that quote also was in a song that was written by a guy called Ebenezer Obey. And he sang back song, I think, in the 70s or yeah, there about. 70s or 80s. And he says, [sings a Nigerian jùjú song]. So basically what that says is, if you are the one in a particular position today, be very mindful. Because you may not be there tomorrow, somebody else will be in that position. It's not because you're a dead or something, you move on to another role. So once you are in that role, please use your role very well. You use it to encourage people, you use it to enrich people, use it well, because tomorrow you may not be there. And that anchors me every now and again. Because I remember that song to me, is the song I sing from time to time. And it sits in my system. And I think I remind myself every now and again that you need to do well, where you are, you need to be good to people. And I think in the Western world, we also talk about, you might climb people when you are going up, but when you are coming down, you will come through the same people. So you need to be very mindful what you do when you are going up to people. Don't just step on them. Because when you will come down, nothing goes up that wouldn't come down, you will come down, and you may meet the same set of people you've stepped on coming down. So if you want to learn softly, you better treat those people well. So it's the same kind of thing. And that really cost me a lot.

[Dr Elena Danilova - 32:53] Thank you so much for sharing. I mean, uh, you know, so when you were singing, I couldn't understand the words, but I could totally feel it.

[Associate Professor Remi Ayoko - 33:00] Thank you.

[Dr Elena Danilova - 33:02] And you know, we were talking about the future a little bit, then, you know, so I was just thinking if we had Doctor Who's TARDIS parked around the corner right now, what point in time would you have chosen to travel to and why?

[Associate Professor Remi Ayoko - 33:19] That's a good question. I think I would have gone back to my early life, which will be somewhere around the 70s and 80s. That's where I would settle. And the reason is, I see genuine freedom. I see flexibility. I see innocence. I see goodness to the world that we live, people just lived naturally. We lived in a community. We were able to trust each other. We were free. I get emotional when I'm talking about that. When, I felt free, we were free. If if you are going to school, and you say your mother hadn't come to pick you, somebody else would pick you and take you back home where your mother is. And if you did anything wrong, is a collective thing. They would go, Oh, you did this wrong. I'm going to tell your mom about what you have just done. Never, never don't do that again. So the community was the teacher. The community was the parent. We lived in community, we were free. We were very trusting. We treated the environment very well with a lot of respect. And I thought yeah, if I was to go back, I will go back to that trusting environment, community kind of live environment. We were not pushing things because of our personal gains. We were doing that for the whole of the good of the people around us. And that was a very, very, very good time that I can remember. So that's where I would like to go back to. We were not all, people were not money driven. They cared for one another and it was the caring for one another that made people go on in their life or lives so then people can kind of continue to be okay when things are not necessarily okay. You draw strength from other people who are around you who are supporting you. We were not isolated as we are right now. So it's a good time to be.

[Dr Elena Danilova - 35:20] Yeah, you're absolutely right. And talking again about sort of, you know, the past. So if you were able to travel to the past and see yourself as the 20 year old girl. What would you tell yourself, especially in terms of career progression? What advice would you give yourself?

[Associate Professor Remi Ayoko - 35:44] 20 years old Remi. My advice to you would be, continue to dream. Dreaming is important. Because the more you dream, the bigger your dream, the possibility that it will do greater things. Dream, dream not only for yourself, dream for the community where you live, dream for the people around you. Dream about people who are not as privileged as you are, and how you can help them. Dream about younger people and how you can encourage them to take on the reins to become somebody that is worthy of the call upon their lives. Just dream big. Keep your passion. Get anchored in your values. Don't let people push you out of your values. Anchor yourself in what you believe, and your values. And lastly, work hard. And try your best every time, Remi.

[Dr Elena Danilova - 36:44] I have goose bumps. Oh, thank you so much. Thank you for your time, Remi, today.

[Associate Professor Remi Ayoko - 36:49] You're welcome.

[Dr Elena Danilova - 36:49] And thank you for sharing all this wisdom and your experience.

[Associate Professor Remi Ayoko - 36:53] Thank you. Thank you so much.

[Dr Elena Danilova - 36:54] Thank you.

[Associate Professor Remi Ayoko - 36:55] It's a big reflection for me too. So thank you.

[Dr Elena Danilova - 37:01] That's it for this episode of women finding success. The podcast series was initiated by the SAGE Athena SWAN team at The University of Queensland. Thanks to Workplace Diversity and Inclusion team, and Gender Steering Committee for their support and coordination. The series is produced by Dr Elena Danilova with technical production by John Anderson. If you enjoyed this podcast, please like, subscribe, or write a review on the platform you get your podcasts from. Thank you for listening.


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