Inspirational Woman: Dr Elaine Garcia | Head of Academics, Interactive Pro

Dr Elaine Gracia Dr Elaine Garcia is Head of Academics at InteractivePro. Elaine is also a lecturer with the London School of Business and Finance.

She holds an MBA and a PhD from the University of Plymouth and currently lives in Cornwall with her partner and dog. Her research interests relate to teaching and learning and the use of technology within education and business. She has written over 20 journal papers, conference papers and book chapters and regularly travels to both teach present at conferences and events across Europe.

Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role

My name is Dr Elaine Garcia and I am currently the Head of Academics at Interactive Pro. I am also a lecturer with the London School of Business and Finance. My role involves leading our academic team in order to develop our programmes and working with our partners to provide the highest quality online education to our students all around the world. I have worked in various academic and support roles within education for the last 20 years. I hold an MBA and PhD from the University of Plymouth which focus on the areas of Social Media in business and teaching and learning. I am based within Cornwall, UK, and generally work remotely. I have also travelled extensively around the world to present at conferences and events, and also to teach.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

Never! I feel incredibly lucky to be in a career that I love, having never planned anything. All of the opportunities I have had have come due to the connections I have made, hard work, and a bit of luck. I have always tried to do work that I find interesting and sought to put my best into any role I work in. I have also always tried to take opportunities that have presented themselves to me and tried to be proactive and to work on continuous improvement.

Have you faced any challenges along the way?

Of course. Without challenges life would be very boring. Working full time whilst studying can be a challenge, and I did this throughout my MBA and also during most of my PhD. Generally, I embrace challenges and enjoy working my way around problems. The important thing is to try to react positively to a challenge, seek help where needed, and try it rise to solve any challenge presented. Getting knock backs is also natural and it is important to give yourself a chance to get over any set back but then to remerge and learn from any experience you have.

What has been your biggest achievement to date?

My biggest achievement is probably completing my PhD, as this led to a new career as well as new ways of working and thinking.

What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success?

Being surrounded by others who believe in you and support you. Having the support of family and also supervisors is really pivotal. My PhD supervisor had a big impact on my career and really guided me through the process of both undertaking the PhD. Being surrounded by people who encourage you and believe in you, both at home and at work, can make a big difference to your confidence and your ability to get things done.

How do you feel about mentoring? Have you mentored anyone or are you someone’s mentee?

I think having a mentor is great, whether that is in the form of formal mentorship or informal mentorship. I have learnt from having a mentor that this can be a really helpful way to learn. A mentor will generally look out for you and provide you with information and opportunities that you would not otherwise have access to. Having been mentored I now am myself a mentor to my students and sometimes to colleagues. It is a great feeling to be able to mentor someone and see how they can flourish and develop because of the time that you give to them. It is really great to see this being “paid forward”.

If you could change one thing to accelerate the pace of change for Gender Equality, what would it be?

I think the pace of change could be hugely accelerated if we were able to remove gender stereotypes and associations. The idea that certain roles are more suited to one gender or the other is not helpful, and can help limit the horizons of some young people.

If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self what would it be?

I would advise myself not to doubt myself and to try to have more confidence. I would advise myself to not worry about what other people think and to try to live in the moment.

What is your next challenge and what are you hoping to achieve in the future?

I am looking forward to continuing to develop our partnerships and support more students through our programmes. I also hope to undertake a greater amount of research and to pick up some of the ideas I have not had time for in the last year or so. Finding the time to do research is something which is always a challenge but well worth doing.


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