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“If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

RadReach, the RCR’s collaboration with Widening Participation Medics Network (WPMN), aims to encourage under-represented groups to choose a career in Clinical Oncology or Clinical Radiology.

Authors: Dr Anu Obaro, Alexis Hutson and Lucy Horder.

Established in 2021 by Dr Anu Obaro, Dr Jade Scott-Blagrove and Dr Hannah Tharmalingham, RadReach seeks to increase diversity and equity in the College’s faculties by building a supportive community that promotes mentorship, advocacy and professional development. To date, RadReach has operated almost entirely as an online endeavour, but the RCR was pleased to welcome mentors and mentees to its inaugural in-person leadership development workshop on 17 February 2023.

Following an introduction by Dr Anu Obaro, delegates spent time understanding their personal leadership preferences and styles, and the ways in which they might benefit from adapting their approach when working with others. We were joined by two of our RadReach ambassadors - Professor Amaka Offiah, one of only three Black female professors in medicine in the UK, and Professor Geraldine McGinty, who was the first female president of the American College of Radiology – who shared their leadership journeys and words of advice.

We were fortunate to also hear the lived experiences of RCR officers Dr Nicky Thorp, Medical Director Professional Practice for Clinical Oncology, and Dr Priya Suresh, Medical Director Education and Training for Clinical Radiology. Finally, delegates engaged in a practical ‘flash’ peer mentoring session, facilitated by independent coach Alexis Hutson, and worked through their personal leadership development challenges.

The day was rich in learning for everyone, regardless of career stage or current leadership profile. The key take-aways were:

Community is a precious resource

We heard consistently about the value of community, mentorship, advocacy and allyship. Making space for curiosity and conversation within our communities is crucial for learning and reflection. Sharing your experience and anxieties with another person (for example, in a mentoring relationship) provides the human reassurance needed to take your thinking further than you might otherwise have done.

Do not underestimate your power to influence others

Leadership is not necessarily about the position you hold or the authority it carries – it is about how you relate to others, and how others relate to you. Your words and actions are everything, and can powerfully influence those around you.

Good professional relationships keep us well

Recognising our leadership preferences and style helps us to identify the professional relationships we need to nurture. Investing in those relationships and understanding ourselves is an important part of our wellbeing. Similarly, building quality relationships with people you can rely on for advice will be invaluable when you have challenges to move through.

Keep developing your network

Developing your network is a constantly evolving process. Be curious about your passions, embrace the unexpected and the opportunities that come your way. Sometimes you’ll have to say “No” to things that, while interesting, perhaps don’t serve you well at that moment in time. Learning to say “No” is a key skill in your wellbeing toolkit. However, learn how to say “No” well, and always advocate for someone else in your network who might be able to say “Yes”.

Growth isn’t always linear

We heard from a variety of inspiring speakers over the course of the day, and the one thing they all had in common was that they haven’t travelled from where they started to where they are now in a smooth, straight line. We are all trying to find our way around the maze that is life, and the closed doors and forks in the path are invariably points we can learn and grow from.

We will continue to look at opportunities to grow the RadReach community and promote equitable access to our specialties. Thank you to our delegates and speakers for sharing their experiences so generously and bringing such energy and enthusiasm to the day.

More information on RadReach.
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