Friendly and appealing communities in which all can thrive 
People drive science and the good of the world forward. Empowerment to unlock the potential of all matters. Team work makes the dream work. As such, I take pride in being an energetic and imaginative woman of STEMM who does whatever she can to widen access and engagement in science and to address the need for greater diversity more broadly. As a planetary scientist I am not a trained expert in matters of diversity, but am happy to help where possible. I’m presently serving as Co-Chair to the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee of the European Association of Geochemistry –

Complex and sometimes painful problems and barriers to justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion agendas (systemic and cultural) require tackling from all conceivable angles, and likely also deconstructing in ways we are yet to recognise but shall get behind with gusto when learnt of. Giving back through service to the community is a good thing. Both diversity and zeal, are always required for outstanding and ingenious achievements to be realised. These are friendly and constructive goals in which everyone has a responsibility to contribute so as to proactively cultivate and build communities with positively progressive cultures in which all kinds of people thinkers can feel that they belong.

As the first member of my extended family to attend any form of university – and to be considered able to in a pragmatic sense – I have a special appreciation for the privilege of extended higher education and the range of opportunities it can provide for. Such an education has proven to be so much fun that I continue to take various opportunities to learn all life long. The lessons learned among the lovely and humble folk of my upbringing, including the independent-of-mind self-employed – and charitable – skilled trades people, are personally important to me and of long term value also. Whatever your background and path, being fortunate in education and enjoying dedication to your passions (whatever professional route that may involve) can provide for all kinds of opportunities the world over.

Wellbeing, ableness / disability, and conditions that enable and empower 
I was unwell at an earlier time and this is classed as a “disability” under law – rarely do academics openly identify so (stigma and clumsiness of others?). As such I am acutely aware that it is vitally important that science is a safe, trust-worthy, friendly, creative / innovative, enjoyable, inclusive, and increasingly diverse environment. Work places should support staff health / mindfulness while fairly advancing security of employ alongside excellence. Needs vary, and we may each work in different ways. Flexibility can be key. Fostering belonging while empowering people is always important. Every kind of person can be ambitious in pursuing all kinds of exciting and constructive professional opportunities, and should do so without hindrance or counterproductive forms of gatekeeping. Good places and systems of employ actively ensure and promote both equity and high-standards of wellbeing among personnel while accessing all possible talent pools.

The differing aspirations / destinations for each person’s career and life successes are natural and should be celebrated. As such we should promote the benefits that arise from true diversity, equity, and inclusion. If we are all the same, or very similar, we have failed. It costs nothing to be polite, kind, and respectful. Such values – and workplace cultures that truly hold to them – are very important to many of us both professionally and personally. Be happy in what you do and where you are, and / or where you are heading – wherever that may be – while working on and sharing in what you love.

It is the 21st century. Everyone is an individual. We must be self-critical and should not be complicit in systemic problems such as over-work, exploitation, discrimination, bias, and exclusion of minoritised and marginalised groups. Cultures of denial and / or silence are to be disapproved. Where illness, disability, or other protected characteristics are concerned, there are applicable legislative frameworks (e.g., the Equality Act) and reasonable accommodations that are legal requirements of employers. In this context you can gain assistance if ever needed because we should all work under suitable circumstances. Should any member of the community wish for advice, confidential and impartial staffed helplines are available and trade unions can likely offer further support. Contact info can be provided to anyone who asks me for it, and discretion will be respected.

I’m sorry I know so little. I’m sorry we all know so little.
But that’s kind of the fun, isn’t it?
Vera Rubin