Women in Nuclear 2020 'Sweat The Small Stuff'


On the 29th January the 6th annual Women in Nuclear Conference ‘Sweat the Small Stuff’ took place at Church House, Westminster and Jordan Coulthard CE&I Engineer, alongside colleagues, Mechanical Design Engineer, Stephanie Bryan and Project Assistant, Lee-Ann Layne were there to represent James Fisher Nuclear.

The conference and workshops have had a profound positive effect on them and all 3 women came back inspired and empowered to make changes and get the conversation going back at work.  Here’s Jordan’s account of the day and what it meant for her…

"The day began with registration and an exhibition provided by the sponsors of the event. We were then shortly ushered into the impressive room where the conference would be held.

 Jack Gritt WiN UK’s President introduced the theme of the day being ‘Inclusion through conversation’ the ‘micro cues and nudges that we utilise’ and how the actions we use can drive change required for diversity throughout the Nuclear Industry.

Alexander Pett (Director, River Leadership) proceeded to present the idea of ‘Inclusion through Conversation’ and micro cues we use being, affirmation or aggression. Alex utilised a theory by Chris Aggris to explain such processes as Problem – Solution – Application, this concluding with the idea that we require a self-awareness of the micro cues and language we use and how to change this in a positive manner to demonstrate our own behaviours and leadership to promote gender balance in the Nuclear Industry. 

Gwen Parry-Jones (CEO, Magnox) presented a powerful message, ‘learn your own micro cues and work to understanding others’ allowing us to become more inclusive to get things done well. Gwen then looked into how people are treated within companies and the factors that ensure they stay or leave, giving examples of relevant women in today’s society. Summarising with a piece of advice ‘Stop worrying about what I knew and start using what I thought’.

The next session was from Debbie Francis (MD, Direct Rail Services), Sarah Churchman (Pwc D&I Lead), Paul Howarth (CEO, NNL) and Amri Johnson, Founder A Johnson Partners) which involved some constructive tension amongst the panel during the fireside talk about the pace of change and how we can move beyond just completing unconscious bias awareness training and focus on the actions we need to take to build more inclusive environments. Also discussing how both women and men use micro-aggression and the careful thought we must use to prevent this behaviour, a final thought of if everyone isn’t included it’s not inclusion. The requirement that is required for innovation and diversity leading to improved decision making in a safety critical environment.

Following on from the ‘Fireside talk’ was David Peattie (CEO, NDA) the new patron for WiN discussing the energy and enthusiasm he will bring to the role in attraction, retention and dialogue across our industry. David focused on the target of 40% will be women working in the Nuclear Industry by 2030 and how we achieve this through recruitment and inspiring young women, touching on historical female figures such as: Marie Curie, Lisa Meitner and Eleanor Roosevelt. The industry has had a poor workplace culture and has been for tolerated for too long thus requiring the diversity for the complex mission we all face in the Nuclear Industry; David hopes that his legacy will be improving the culture throughout the Industry.

 The WiN UK awards were presented in the following categories:

Champion of the Year – Melanie Brownridge

Mission Possible – Stacey Sheperd

Regional Heroes – WiN Scotland Highland & Dounreay Women's Network

Ally of the year – Richard Cooke

President’s Award – Dave Ellis

The awards are a testament to their passion and hard work to promote diversity and inclusion of women in nuclear, it was a refreshing ceremony that inspired me to strive to become one of those leading women in the Nuclear Industry.

Lunch break was a delightful Thai green chicken curry, this also allowed time for networking meeting a wide range of people from various roles within the nuclear sector and signing the Nuclear Sector Deal Gender Commitment which is to target 40% of Women working within the Nuclear Industry by 2030, whilst this target is ambitious it creates the environment to have the conversation to prioritise effort in the right areas. I feel that this is a prominent step for the future to influence a diverse workforce.                                                       

After lunch, we proceeded to the 1st workshop: Getting your feedback together when you just want to scream!!’. This informative workshop promoted the idea of presenting feedback like a gift, the feedback you present needed to be relative to the subject using the AID model: Action- state the facts this may be positive or negative. Impact – Describe the impact of the stated action/activity and finally. Do- Decide/ suggest behaviours how to improve. We then practised our new feedback skills and how to utilise them within the workplace.

The 2nd workshop I attended was ‘Stop Talking, Start Listening: Nurturing the Strengths of Introverts’ presented by DelveOD. The presentation started with looking at how micro cues we use can exclude introverts and what we can do in meetings, workspace to reduce this. We delved into looking at our own personalities and qualities we hold. We tend to be drawn to others that have similar traits to ourselves but we should also be conscious of people that are opposites to help develop these skills. Extroverts tend to have Do think Do approach and are passive whereas introverts take a think Do think approach Introverts tend to take a proactive. This session was concluded with the need for both introverts and extroverts in the workplace as diverse teams work better together.

After some fantastic workshops exploring some specific Inclusion Nudges and Micro Cues and discussing what actions we can all take to drive change. The outgoing President Jack Gritt gives her reflections on the day. Both the pre-event drinks at the House of Commons and the annual Women in Nuclear Conference was a brilliant two days which gave me the opportunity to network and develop new friendship’s and a mentor with like-minded women who strive for gender equality in the Industry, inspiring me to achieve more than what I thought was possible as a female and allowed me to develop new skills which I can utilise in the workplace. It has been an unforgettable experience which has been a highlight of my career to date, and I can only thank James Fisher Nuclear Limited for giving me the opportunity to attend."