Having Monster Confidence

by Pauline on October 30th 2017

In partnership with STEMettes, Monster UK organised Monster Confidence, a collaborative conference that aims to help young girls and women with their potential and confidence in education, careers and generally.

I heard of the conference on Twitter where I follow STEMettes, I quickly booked the day off work to attend and shared it with the #ShefCodeFirst community – I’m pleased to say that a few did attend and got to experience the event with me! 😁

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I noticed that there was a mix of the attendees. There were a lot of attendees who were still in school – about to take their A Levels. It was surprising to me because conferences I attended before this was always people my age or older, it was refreshing and made me think about what I was doing at their age – I wish I had known of events that were open to young girls like this one so that I could get involved! I think if I had attended these sorts of activities, I would’ve had more awareness of what careers are available. Being a teacher, doctor or dentist isn’t the only profession there is out there!

In addition to the school girls, there were other attendees from university level and even women in industry.

There were some fantastic speakers and a lot of great advice throughout the day. There was a lot to take in, but I left with five powerful take-home messages…

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1) 📈 Your journey isn’t linear

This was a common theme in the conference.

A lot of the women who were up on the panel or I networked with during the day, had told me that they sort of “ended up” in STEM. One of the Sky Software Engineers said that she came from an Arts background and had wanted to be a doctor, curator, artist before. Another engineer had told me that she did her undergraduate degree in History, attended a coding course and completely changed her career. She is now a Junior Software Engineer! Sometimes the journey isn’t as straightforward as going to school, doing your GCSEs, A Levels then University where your degree determines what you’re going to do for the rest of your life.

There’s never a destination. It’s completely fine to change your career! It’s never too late. As someone who is still unsure what to pursue after my degree in Biomedical Sciences, I found this very reassuring even though I say it to myself all the time, it was great to talk to women who were living the tale!

I’m sure that it reassured and empowered the girls in the audience too who are about to chose their A Levels, thinking it is life-determining!

2) 💣 New secret weapon: power posing

Sinead Bunting, Head of Marketing at Monster, shared a piece of advice that she got from watching Amy’s TEDx talk. “Like wonder woman, power pose.” So before an interview or presentation, do a power pose (in private or publicly if you wish!) You’ll instantly feel much more confident, powerful and ready to take on any challenge that comes your way.

Is this fake confidence? *Maybe* for a moment but remember…

Amy goes into this in more detail in her emotional TED talk; I recommend that you give it a listen!

It’s crazy how powerful positive self-talk is, much like power posing. Give it a go! I know that I will be doing this for future talks and interviews!

As Sinead said, “walk in that room like you own it and one day you will.”

Hell yeah. 👏🏼

3) 🦁 Your audience isn’t going to eat you

In the same session, Sinead shared her tips on public speaking. She advised that no matter how much it seems like, the audience isn’t a pack of lions waiting to eat you on stage. So instead of hiding in the comfort of a powerpoint, step out towards the audience with confidence – delivery will be better, and you will seem like you know what you’re talking about.

Also, people don’t take much content from the presentation, what they will remember is how you presented yourself and what’s a better way to be remembered as? Confident and owning that stage.

4) 🚀 On barriers

You hear this all the time but sometimes when we look at successful people, let’s admit: we think something along the lines of “Wow, they have it easy. Getting from point X to point Y for them must’ve been so easy.”

I admit I have had thoughts like this in the past, but after hearing stories from various conferences, events and having the opportunity to talk to some successful women doing their thing, I know for a fact that getting where they want to be isn’t as straightforward as it may look on the surface.

Anne-Marie is such a great example of this. During a Q&A, she spoke about the barriers she had faced before she could get to where she is now. How her teachers laughed in her face when she said she was going to the University of Oxford, a year early. Despite this, she didn’t allow any “barriers “ to stop her from going for her dreams or let her doubt herself.

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She said that barriers are only barriers that you make them be. She’s a woman, she’s black, she’s from East London, but she did not let that stop her. What an incredibly powerful woman!

5) ⭐️ Online presence is impactful

Sue Beckingham, Lecturer at Sheffield Hallam, spoke about the importance of social media presence and creating a positive digital footprint. She spoke about how to use Twitter effectively to expand connections! Throughout her talk, I was nodding and agreeing to everything. 😆 One of my side projects this year, inspired by my placement year, was to grow my online presence and connections on social media. I found her tips in growing online presence useful!

Her talk also inspired me for my talk in November where I’ll be talking about the same topic and how it’s worked for me.

You can view her slides here.

In addition to these incredible talks, we were also given the opportunity to take part in speed-mentoring with women in the industry, talk to with employers such as PwC, Sky, Rolls-Ryce and participate in a mock interview. After each session, I left motivated, inspired, and more confident to pursue a career in STEM and even left with ideas to bring back to #shefcodefirst.


🎤 Running up on stage

Throughout the day, there were a few challenges including a social media challenge, i.e. best social media engagement. Naturally, I tweeted, Snapchatted and Instagrammed the event and ended up winning!

Not only did I win my very own purple Monster, but I also won an all paid for trip to London for work experience with one of the companies who sponsored or attended the event! I know right? How awesome! I won the trip because I ran up to the stage to talk about what I learnt, i.e. this blog post in less than five minutes. You can watch/listen to what I said in the video below: 😆

Thanks for capturing this Hamdah. 💜

I used the new found confidence within me to speak in front of all the attendees and quickly found that I enjoyed holding a microphone! Haha, who knew?

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Overall, I had a great day! I left with all the swag, new connections, friends and all the confidence I need. I would recommend the #MonsterConfidence event to you if they decide to do it again in the future. For similar events, follow STEMettes on Twitter for more exciting events!

Thanks again Monster and STEMettes, it was incredible!

📸 Photos from the event

MonsterConfidence Sheffield 2017

MonsterConfidence Sheffield 2017

MonsterConfidence Sheffield 2017

MonsterConfidence Sheffield 2017

MonsterConfidence Sheffield 2017


Posted under: Tech, Women Empowerment


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5 comments

  1. Senyth says:

    Pauline-chaaaan!!! 😅 😂 🤣 Do you remember me calling you that way years and years ago? Oh, man, I do hope you still remember me!

    You are such a grown woman now, I am so so proud of you. Thank you for pushing yourself to the limit (yes, don’t stop — the sky is the limit!) and for constantly improving yourself.

    Continue sharing these insights from various conferences you’ve attended, I love reading these. I agree that our journey isn’t linear too. Sometimes the detours we take are what we need to become who we are today and these detours bring us to our destination. It’s what we take from these detours that are important, so enjoy the journey. It’s one heck of a life, after all!

    And oh my gosh, a free trip to London! Have a good time, Pauline! You deserve it. Btw, I love your accent!

    I also read Matt’s post here, that was quite an adventure. I love trekking and hiking too — the view is always worth the effort. Love that he loves spicy food too! Haven’t had Nando’s, but my fave spicy thing is Samyang’s Fire Chicken noodles. Check out Youtube for there are lots of video challenges about it. I hope it’s available at your place and have him try it! 😀

  2. Nancy says:

    It’s great that you gained a lot out of this event! As far as career goes, we all gotta go through some loops to end up in places we want to be. I’ve heard of the power pose giving you that rush of confidence. Haha, your quote reminded me of what my manager told me on my first day doing a particular type of audit I never did before.

    Sinead is right about the audience not being a pack of lions. I mean, they’re typically interested in listening to what the speaker has to say. I agree with the part about people not really taking much from the presentation content. My eyes usually glaze over at essay-styled presentations.

    Congratulations on winning the social media contest! Hope you’ll gain a lot of valuable experience in London!

  3. Brandy says:

    I am so excited for you. It sounds and looks like you had such a great day. You look so happy. X