Rising Stars: What happened next for Tina McDonald

Tina McDonald

WeAreTheCity’s Rising Star Awards are now in their fourth year.

The Rising Star awards were introduced to showcase the UK pipeline of female talent below management and to create female 100 role models across 20 different industries and professions.

Over the year’s, the awards have recognised 400 women across the UK and India.

In this ongoing series, we speak to our winners about life after winning a Rising Star award.

We spoke with Tina McDonald, who won a 2018 Rising Star Award in Education & Academia.

Tina works as a trainer and facilitator, providing soft skills leadership training to businesses that want to invest in their teams, developing future leaders and coaching managers to progress in their careers through, coaching, apprenticeship schemes and on site training workshops. She has a passion for supporting students who don’t fit the school environment or those who struggle to meet the required grades and helps them to focus on their natural skill set. Instead of changing themselves to fit a job they think they want, she helps them to find a career that suits their natural talents and passions, eliminating the stigma around education only being academic. Tina believe’s that everyone has the right to be happy at work and when you find the right career for you, then work life balance becomes easy and people are less stressed and unhappy.

How did you feel when it was announced that you’d won a Rising Star award?

It was funny because I didn’t quite believe it and I even thought I may have got it wrong, right up to the night of the awards I still thought I was one of five nominations and didn’t quite realise I had actually won. I was so pleased with being nominated that winning was far from my mind. To have got through to the top five felt like such an achievement and being a top 100 was amazing.

Please tell us what has happened in your career since winning the Rising Star award

I am going to be speaking at Inspirational Talks Brighton in November on the back of my award.

We were all named in The Times which was exciting!

I wrote an article on LinkedIn about the way I felt on the night that was shared and celebrated by lots of people from the awards evening,

I am running my own interviews for schools and education centres about real life careers, this is something I would never had the courage to do, I am also interviewing some of the people who attended the awards that I met,

I have signed up to support as a mentor with CMI, as a winner we were connected and given membership to.

The sponsor of my award has just recently accepted me as an associate and I am going to be doing some work for them in the near future.

I have featured on three podcasts following the awards.

It’s helped me raise more awareness of what I am doing in my business and I feel more credible when I am talking to people about it, it’s not just something I believe in, but all these people behind me also believe in it too.

What advice would you give to someone else going through our award’s process?

Enjoy every second of it and make the most of sharing the nominations, I felt embarrassed to share it to start with as I didn’t think I would win and was worried about ’showing off’ or ‘ looking stupid’ but when I did share it, the support I got was amazing and actually whether I had won or not wouldn’t have matter at that point, as some of the messages of support I got really helped me to be excited about what I was doing, then when I did win, I was overwhelmed by the support and comments, things I didn’t realise people thought.

You don’t realise just how much people care and support you and having something like this to share can really open your eyes to just how much colleagues and business friends support you and what they think of you, it’s really heartwarming and gives you such a confidence boost.

Also being part of the Top 100 women is pretty powerful, being in the room with these amazing women is pretty special and you don’t want to miss the opportunity of being part of that. I had no idea this kind of thing existed and I am always grateful for it as when I have a wobble in my business this reminds me of so many great things.

What tips would you give to our other members to enhance their careers?

My tips are

  • Don’t close yourself off to opportunities, even roles or tasks that don’t feel like ‘you’ could lead you to amazing future opportunities. If it sounds intriguing, exciting or different – give it a go.
  • Don’t doubt yourself, if you are saying no because you don’t think, ‘you can’ then ‘ you’re wrong’, you can and you should. If the answer no, comes from fear, then it should always be ignored.
  • When you read a job description I use the 70/30 split, if I can do 70 per cent of the description then I can easily learn 30 per cent, so look at the tasks and if you can do more then you can’t do, then do it.
  • Get friends/close colleagues to rate you, ask them to look at a job description and measure you against it, they will often see skills and attributes in you that you didn’t even know you had and they will usually tell you too.
  • Career ladders are old fashioned, you don’t go up anymore, you can go up, down and sideways, sometimes a step back can launch you forwards, career development is like chess, you should always be looking two moves ahead.
  • If you’ve never done it before, then try it, who knows it might be the best thing you’ve ever done.
  • If the career you want doesn’t exist, create it. I always tell my students, many jobs now weren’t around 20 years ago, if someone can create something, why can’t you.
  • Most importantly, never burn bridges, even if your boss or colleagues are the worst, leave with love,  you never know where you might meet them again and in what role.


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