Dr Antuela Tako leads EDI panel at fourth IMA and OR Society Conference

Dr Tako's presentation on Mentoring

Left to right: Prof Corina Constantinescu, Prof Nira Chamberlain OBE, Dr Antuela Tako, Dr Jennifer Macey, Dr Selin Damla Ahipasaoglu.

Dr Antuela Tako, Reader in Operational Research at Loughborough Business School and member of the Women in OR and Analytics Network (WORAN) mentoring sub-committee, recently led an equality, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) panel at the 4th IMA and OR Society Conference on Mathematics of Operational Research, at the Conference Aston in Birmingham.

The panel aimed to raise awareness about mentoring and its benefits in supporting career development in academia and industry. Mentoring programmes build a foundation for career development whereby more experienced individuals provide guidance and advice to others who are at an earlier stage of career or development, while research highlights how mentoring can have greater benefits for women, people from BAME or LGBTQ+ backgrounds, and people with neurodiverse conditions.

Dr Tako featured in a diverse group of panellists with a variety of experience and expertise, as follows:

  • Professor Nira Chamberlain OBE, FIMA FORS CSci PhD HonDSc, past president of the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications (IMA)
  • Professor Corina Constantinescu, Professor of Mathematics and Director of the Institute for Financial and Actuarial Mathematics, University of Liverpool
  • Dr Jennifer Macey, Vice-President Professional Affairs and Industry IMA, Corporate member OR Society & RSS
  • Dr Selin Damla Ahipasaoglu, Associate Professor in Operational Research and Director of the Centre for Operations Research, Management Science, and Information Systems (CORMSIS), University of Southampton

The panellists shared their own views and experiences on mentoring with the audience, including topics such as mentoring for women in academia, empowering mentors and mentees, the importance of celebrating success, and carefully evaluating the advice of your mentor.

Dr Tako suggests it is in our hands to develop an environment where mentoring is woven within our culture and help our community to thrive, and there is no ‘wrong’ mentoring, instead it derives from goodwill and desire to giving back to someone less experienced than you.

It was a pleasure and honour to lead a panel on mentoring with such exceptional panellists at the conference. I believe that mentoring can help improve diversity in the STEM professions. Understanding mentoring and how it works can lead to building effective mentoring partnerships so we can help each other to elevate our careers and to achieve our potential.

The panel ended with a speed-networking session where the attendees had the opportunity to experience mentoring in action and to even find a mentor if that was conducive.