Successfully Navigating Transitions and Trust, with Dr. Claire Horner-Devine – Ep #41

Change is inevitable in life. Through the course of our lives we will go through a series of transitions, and not all of them will be what we expect. While there is the tantalizing prospect of success and growth, there is also a dark side: fear of failure, regression, loss which can leave us anxious and scared. So how do we navigate these inevitable moments of change? How do we approach periods of transition and give ourselves the greatest chance of success?

Dr. Claire Horner-Devine is a leader in the field of career development for women and underrepresented minorities in STEM, focusing on inclusion, connection, creativity, and problem-solving. She is the founder and principal consultant for Counterspace Consulting, a career and leadership firm which focuses on helping to facilitate transformative experiences for clients in technology, government, industry, philanthropy, and academia.

Claire has a rich professional experience which includes all the fields of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math), as well as philanthropy, industry, and academia (higher-education). She served as a faculty member of the University of Washington for almost a decade, teaching courses and running a research lab.

Dr. Horner-Devine completed her undergraduate degree at Princeton University, earning a BA in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. She went on to earn a PhD in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Stanford University, and was a postdoctoral scholar studying ecological patterns diverse communities of microorganisms from different aquatic and terrestrial habitats.

What You’ll Hear On This Episode of When Science Speaks

  • [1:01] Mark welcomes his guest, Dr. Claire Horner-Devine
  • [3:13] Why transitions in life are difficult
  • [6:43] Adaptability is the key to success
  • [9:16] The leadership organizations which Claire in a part of
  • [13:40] How to establish trust
  • [20:45] Being aware of personal blind spots
  • [26:14] The effects of language and rhetoric

Connect with Claire Horner-Devine

Why transitions can be difficult

Change is a double-edged sword. It is full of wonder, excitement, and the unknown. But it can be a scary prospect, as well. A seemingly infinite number of possible futures could unfold from a single point. While this is true for everyone, it can be especially difficult for women and underrepresented minorities. That is why it is important to be open-minded and adaptable, and ready to embrace the change itself.

For those going through a transition, it is best to concentrate on the positive aspects of change, as well as the positive potential futures. What does success mean for us? If we can define what that looks like, it can be much easier to work towards that goal and take the steps needed to manifest that potential future. Focusing on the worst-case scenarios and what-ifs can lead to a negative feedback loop which can lead to failure. 

Trust is the key

Trust is the foundation of all community development and growth. Each person needs to trust themselves, each other, and especially those with positions of power. Community and connection are things Claire really focus on, and trust is the baseline goal. It truly is central to any effort for diversity, equity, and inclusion. That is why they are the core values of the organizations Claire is a part of. 

The programs which Claire has helped to develop put an emphasis on building trust through the use of retreats to help people learn how to learn from each other and learn to build trust. Being present is important, and participants are discouraged from utilizing distracting devices and social media during their time there. 

To hear more about Claire’s meaningful and interesting work and her great perspective on trust and language, make sure to listen to her full conversation with Mark on this episode of When Science Speaks.

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