Ep 9: Victoria Lee

Anne McNamara
December 16, 2021
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Hard work pays off even if it doesn’t feel like it at the time of learning:

[During my degree] learning was difficult but the entire process, now that I look back, was absolutely character building. It was just about really focusing on just saying ‘for this two year period of my life this is what is going to be done and I'm going to do it well’.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help!

I've always tried to be as self-sufficient as possible in my life so when it came to the point in time with the masters […] I had written my draft dissertation or at least the majority of it and I had my very final review with my university assessor and she was very concerned and just said ‘I think you kind of need to start again because it's not clear, I'm really worried about this’.

I would say that it took a lot but it paid off. Towards the end I just didn't know if I was doing the right thing and I didn't have any guidance at that point in time and I was distraught, I was in tears and, just be maybe the week before I handed it in, I opened up to a friend of mine and I just said ‘I'm not sure about this’ and she just said ‘OK, come over and I'll cook you dinner. Feel free to stay over.  Don’t worry about anything’ and that was really helpful. I’m really grateful because I was able to help her, repay here, because she recently had a baby and so I could help her out.

One job doesn’t mean you only have skills that relate to that role. Have the confidence to break away from the idea of fitting into a box and show you have multiple abilities!

I have other sides as well that tie in as well to my creative side and artistic side. When you're sitting at the table, when you're trying to unlock problems to do with development or sustainability, you have to think laterally and that's the creative side of my brain. It's about celebrating and really understanding who you are and just being authentic to yourself.

A bit of pressure isn’t always a bad thing.

[Since] coming over to the UK in the beginning, the pressure of performance has never gone away. It's always about how can you be your better self every single day? But, the pressure is, for me, a vision for what you could contribute in this lifetime. I love it.

Value yourself

There’s a cultural component to [valuing yourself]. One of my grandfathers came from China and so I grew up with this notion of work, work, work. Both my grandfathers own their own businesses and I worked in those from the age of about six on weekends. That to me that was fun because I was with my family but I was also being productive.

If we look specifically at what it is to be a woman in society and the impact of on the kind of role productivity plays, I do think that it's a bit like establishing evidence. Woman may feel, for example, that they need to provide evidence to society (not necessarily to men or their peers) just to provide evidence that we are being effective in a way that’s contributing to society. We're not just here to nurture, we're here to actually get stuck in.

There's this weight of feeling we have to over produce and show that to the world and I just want to know how we can come away from that. I think, as I've gotten older, I've gotten better at it. It's just about seeing where I could be most effective and then I think that allows other people to shine and grow regardless of gender. Just allowing other people to grow and giving them that opportunity where you step back.

Take time to have a bit of fun!

I do think that my 16-year-old self was just looking forward to the future and what that would bring. There could have been a bit more time spent remembering and celebrating how far I had come. It was only after quite a long time after that when I was able to relax.

Have a bit of fun-- work hard play hard! That’s something that I've been learning to do going on in life. I do try and get out-- my friends would tell you that I definitely enjoy dancing and travelling.

I do have fun in seeing where I could grow as well but you know again that might be conditioning.

Episode Summary