“… consider the longer-term impact of career disruption … on track records. The reality is that you may take “only” 6 months leave, but the effects last much longer and are more widespread”
Dr Phillippa Taberlay was awarded her PhD from the University of Tasmania in 2008. She then completed a ~4 year post-doctoral training fellowship at the University of Southern California (USA) before joining the laboratory of Professor Susan Clark as a Senior Research Officer in 2011.
Phillippa established her own group at the Garvan Institute (2013) after obtaining independent fellowship and project grant funding, and is an author of several influential publications, including first-author Cell and Genome Research papers, Cancer Cell and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA.
Phillippa is now a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Career Development Fellow currently located at the School of Medicine, University of Tasmania. She and her husband enjoy spending time with their son Theo (2) and dog, Chloe whilst renovating their beach-side house in southern Tasmania.
What would you say is your most valuable personal attribute that has helped you succeed?
Oh, what is success? Regardless, I would say that I am succeeding as long as I am continually improving and that comes down to my sheer determination and motivation! I don’t like give up, but I also know when it’s smart to do so. I also try to stay excited about my work, keep my eye on that next big goal and take the “good” from rejection.
What is one thing you would change to improve the gender balance in senior ranks of scientists?
One possibility is to consider the longer-term impact of career disruption such as parental leave on track records. The reality is that you may take “only” 6 months leave, but the effects last much longer and are more widespread.
What has been the biggest barrier you have faced in your career and how did you overcome it?
Juggling life and work goals is a big one – especially in this funding climate (when your salary is dependent on it). I haven’t overcome this one yet! I just try to remember that there are so many good things about our job, do what is best for me and try not to think about the “what it”. Keeping perspective and why we do science in the first place keeps me grounded.
What do you believe are the greatest attributes of a successful leader?
Definitely someone that leads by example but one sets the bar high so that challenges are inspired. It’s fundamental that a leader is exactly that, and has the ability to integrate many leadership styles to get the best from each individual on his/her team.
Do you set boundaries? If yes, which is the most important one?
Yes! Time with my young family is so important.