Athena Swan Chain Reaction Interview 2: When Aki met Nicola
Aki Tsuchiya interviewing Nicola Donohoe
Aki: What does your work entail?
Nicola: I am the School Manager for ScHARR and I head up the 110 ScHARR professional services staff. There are two aspects to my work. One is the longer term strategic work alongside the Dean in the areas of finance, planning, HR and estates management. The other is the problem solving work, which can be in any operational area, in any part of the School. It’s a very varied work portfolio, and no two days are the same – which I enjoy.
Aki: How did you get here?
Nicola: My degree is in Management from the University of Lancaster, and my first job was in NHS finance. Since 1997, I have been in the university sector both here and at the University of Surrey. At the University of Sheffield I have worked in the departments of Journalism Studies, History, Archaeology, and have been at ScHARR since 2012. I also have a faculty role as one of 4 deputies to the Director of Faculty Operations in Medicine, Dentistry and Health.
Aki: What are you proud of?
Nicola: First, my brilliant Central Resources Group team – they always deliver. I couldn’t do my job without the support I get from them. Second, the Working Better Together (WBT) initiative www.sheffield.ac.uk/scharr/wt. Working Better Together champions communicating effectively, leading by example, working together and valuing others. Over half the School have been involved in the initiative. Our WBT contracts project won the University Audit Committee’s 2016 Value for Money Award for our work in streamlining the processes for staff who are on contracts with fixed-term funding. Outside of work I’m proud of competing as a member of the team GB student equestrian team.
Aki: What do you like about working in ScHARR?
Nicola:ScHARR is very large (over 350 members of staff) and I enjoy variety and challenge. I like the fact that asking for help is encouraged and I like streamlining processes, so if there are better ways to get things done, let me know!
Aki: Do you have any tips for maintaining a good “work life” balance?
Nicola: Make time for yourself and do the things you enjoy. I have horses and dogs, who remind me to live in the moment and to leave work at work, especially important after a busy day.