Ros’s Story

Ros Barker

Experienced Country Manager, Pharmaceutical Industry

I almost can’t remember what life was like before Women on a Mission. I’ve changed so much, from the way I think about myself to how I react to different people and situations.

I came to the programme after chatting with Sarah about attending her ‘Flourish’ workshop on resilience. I had taken a redundancy, had some time out and I was trying to decide what I wanted from a future role. I’d had a good job before, with lots of responsibility. I have two children and I was at that stage where I was trying to decide where I wanted to spend my working time.

I had a bit of space and time to think about all of this, and Women on a Mission just seemed to be exactly what I was looking for. I wanted something that could help me to understand what’s important, to come up with a plan and to learn a little bit more about myself.

Taking part in the course has changed my perspective on so many different things for the better – I actually can’t wait to get back into the workplace and use these new tools. I know that there were certain situations before where I would have been stressed or anxious about how things were playing out, but I know now that I can handle it in a different way. I think that’s the biggest takeaway for me – the ability to manage my reactions and think in a different way.

The other thing I’ve gained is direction. I can now see really clearly what it is I want to do and how I want to feel about a job. I think so often you find yourself on a hamster wheel and you’re continually striving for the next thing, then the next. Family and other things happen along the way, and you just end up at a stage where you think, ‘Hang on, how did I get here?’

What I have now is a really great opportunity to see what comes next and to make sure it’s on my terms.

If I were to describe Women on a Mission in one word, it would be ‘enlightening’. For me, the whole programme has been a sequence of light bulb moments.

If I were to describe Women on a Mission in one word, it would be ‘enlightening’. For me, the whole programme has been a sequence of light bulb moments.

I’m still looking for a job, but I’m finding that I’m approaching it with a different perspective. I have a better understanding of what’s important. I’m also more aware of the balance between what’s right for me, what’s right for my family and what’s right for the wider world. All these things stack up more clearly for me now.

Being made redundant, you do lose some confidence. I think the course has helped me to stay on track and maintain my strength. There’s a lot of work on building strength and resilience. All of that work has been helpful and has kept me in a positive place throughout the time I’ve been looking for work.

The whole programme is very carefully facilitated by Sarah. Its a very safe environment, with a completely diverse group of women. Initially I remember thinking, ‘How am I going to relate to these people? They’re not in the same industry as me. They don’t have the same experience as me.’ Actually that’s been the best part, because everyone is at different stages of their careers and different levels of pressure. We have children around, occasionally popping in and out of the workshops.

The group has been able to sound out ideas and ask questions of me that that I would never have considered before. Having someone outside the industry looking in and saying, ‘Why would you do that that way? Why would you accept that?’ That has been really valuable. I don’t think our group ever had any problems with lack of conversation. I think we’re all desperate to meet each other in person, which is a really nice thing to come out of the workshops as well.

Who would benefit from Women on a Mission? Anybody who is in a situation where they’re not 100% clear on what it is that they want from their work, their life or a combination of the two.

I do think that, going into this programme, you have to be prepared to be open, to be receptive and to share and reflect on your own experiences. It has, at times, been quite emotionally challenging. You have to be ready for change. That could be wanting to live differently or work differently or both. It doesn’t have to be a massive change, like leaving your job or moving abroad. It’s about understanding what’s right and focusing on that.

I’ve been telling all my friends about Women on a Mission, because its made such a difference to me and got me through a very challenging time. It’s hard to know how to describe it but I think, for me, it’s been life changing.


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