Taking up space

The main highlight for me this week was going to the J.P. Morgan office in London for the Tab’s Future 100 event.

Last month, I was nominated and shortlisted for the list that celebrates the most influential female students across the UK. It was such an honour to be nominated in the first place alongside so many incredible women (you can view the list and read their bios here.) I was overwhelmed by the support during the voting process, I still can’t believe that I finished off at 5th place nationally and 1st locally with 3,129 votes!



A post shared by Pauline P. Narvas (@paw.lean) on


I’m super thankful for everyone who voted and continues to support the work I do online, in STEM communities and beyond. This marks my 4th recognition award this year so far, my heart is so full! It is super humbling and motivating to keep doing what I do. ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿป

In addition to meeting some boss ladies in their field and celebrating everyone’s achievements at their university, the day included some inspiring talks from women in senior positions at J.P. Morgan and a special guest skills session with Deborah Frances-White. You might know of Deborah from her podcast, “The Guilty Feminist” These are my main take away messages from her talk:

The best chance of inclusion is to assume that you are part of it

When we were younger, it was so much easier to go into a room and just include ourselves. You didn’t really care about anything but playing with other kids! In the “real world”, we often don’t assume inclusion and it’s much more difficult to self-include – especially if you’re not from the dominant group e.g. a Women of Colour.

Deborah advised us to assume inclusion just as we had when we were kids on the playground! From personal experience, it’s difficult to “just assume inclusion” and definitely requires confidence but this has made me be more mindful to apply this in future situations to see how it plays out ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ

Deborah Frances-White on taking up space in a man's world
Deborah Frances-White on taking up space in a man’s world

Public speaking is the best act of self-inclusion

I loved this part of the skills session with Deborah – I picked up some great tips to apply to my next speaking gig. Take notes!

  • Put weight on your front foot and open yourself towards the audience. Putting weight on your back foot puts you in a more anxious position.
  • If you feel fear (mental), you will do the fear (it translates to your physicality – you start wanting to hide) – so cut the loop! Start with your physicality – make yourself taller, walk around. You are control of your own body! This allows your mind to follow and start to think that, “yes, I can do this. Yes, I am awesome!”
  • Move purposely – your movements should have a beginning and an end. This relates once again to confidence.
  • Don’t hide behind furniture or slides. People remember people, not slides.
  • Take up more space! This was a common theme, especially a call out to all the women and other socially excluded groups.

Reflecting on my previous speaking gigs in the past, I can definitely see how fear takes over (especially at the start), the feeling that I’m prey to the audience and the lack of control of my body. Going to give myself credit though, my last talk definitely showed an improvement in my first few talks where I felt like I was in much more control (even stepping out into the audience a few times!) I’m excited to be applying what I learnt from this session to future presentations.

On bringing value from a connected generation

A lot of younger people think that when entering a workplace, it is so important to just “fit in”: do everything as you’re told – that means following the processes and the “how it’s always been done” procedures even if there are efficient ways to do things. People (especially women/people of colour) tend to hide away from opening up new ideas because of the fear that it any failures would be their fault. They’re already the “different one” and don’t want to stand out anymore.

Deborah reminded us to take advantage of our diversity and to not be afraid to bring in our more connected and Gen-Z knowledge into an industry. It is valuable! So next time, speak up about ideas and challenge and question processes! That’s where innovation begins.

J.P. Morgan Senior panel
J.P. Morgan Senior panel

Advice for current students and fresh graduates from female leaders at J.P. Morgan

Senior women from J.P. Morgan delivered a fascinating panel talk specifically about their career journey and advice for current and graduating students stepping out into the real world. Here are a few of my favourite qualities mentioned and general advice:

  • Constant hunger for learning different things – it doesn’t have to be work-related! Anything you learn is always an addition to your personality.
  • The ability to change challenges into opportunities instead of being frustrated by the process.
  • Being a self-starter i.e. having ambition and motivation to succeed with little to no direction!
  • You don’t have to be 100% ready for an opportunity – say yes! You will learn along the way.
  • If something doesn’t scare you, don’t do it. Feeling the fear almost certainly always leads to growth.
  • Don’t shy away from talking about your achievements, more women need to be openly speaking about their milestones! Never forget to pack yourself on the back.

“Inclusion is more than just an invite to the party but is also to be asked to dance.”

The speakers not only empowered me to take up space, unapologetically and to use my diverse background (not just in my ethnicity but also degree and interests) to my advantage but also gave me the resources (such as networking with the Tab, JP Morgan, the other wonderful ladies on the list) to continue making an impact in my professional life and beyond!

Nimi, Masuda, Me & Bianca
Nimi, Masuda, Me & Bianca

Can I just also quickly say? These ladies are incredible. Definitely, check out what they’ve been doing – I’ve spent the last few days connecting with them on socials and can confirm they are all daily hustlers and people to watch. Connecting with them has reminded me how important your network truly is! The future is female, the future is bright. โœจ

I’m very grateful to have been included on the list, welcomed with open arms to this #bossladies community. Thanks again to the Tab for organising and J.P Morgan for sponsoring the event! It’s been a blast. Now let’s continue taking up space in the world with our ideas, impact and inventions – because we can. ๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿผ

#Future100 Ladies!
#Future100 Ladies!

22 responses to “Taking up space”

  1. Congratulations on your award! 5th nationally is fantastic! It’s been fun following you on instagram these past few years and seeing your achievements. You’re at such an exciting point in your life where so many opportunities await. Nothing is stopping you except yourself, and I don’t think you’re ready to slow down anytime soon.


      Thank you so much for your comment – my batteries are still full ๐Ÿค–๐Ÿ’– I hope everything is going well on your side!

  2. So honoured to have met you at this event! Keep changing the world one smile at a time girlie!

    1. You’re incredible ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿป I can’t wait to see what you go on to, onwards and upwards! โœจMeet up again soon.

  3. Love this!!

    Such a pleasure to have finally met you – youโ€™re truly awesome & I canโ€™t wait to see you propel to even greater heights!!

    1. Awwww Nimi ๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿป Right back at you – so proud of Sheffield’s Top 10 feat! Sending you lots of love ๐Ÿ’•

  4. Congrats on the nomination!! That’s absolutely amazing that you finished 5th nationally. That’s a big achievement!

    I definitely relate to how we don’t assume inclusion now that we’re older. It really was so much simpler when we were younger. And those are good public speaking tips! I’ll have to keep those in mind!

    This sounds like it was an amazing event filled with great advice. I especially agree with speaking up about ideas and challenging processes. The longer I’m in the industry, the more I’m tired of people using “we’ve always done it that way” as an excuse to not find a better way. Just because it’s been that way, doesn’t mean it’s the best way now. Things always change!

    1. Thanks so much Cat! I wouldn’t have done it without everyone’s support ๐Ÿค—

  5. Wow, every time I visit your blog Pauline I am blown away by how much you achieve. Honestly, you inspired me so much right now, I paused your blog and looked up how to do something I’ve been wanting to do for a while– give a Tedx talk. please keep doing what you are doing, and inspiring others to do amazing things as well.



    1. Honestly girl, you can do whatever you set your mind to! When you do that TEDx talk, send me the link, I’d love to watch! ๐Ÿ’– You’re amazing!

  6. Congratulations on placing 5th nationally and 1st locally! That is freaking amazing โค๏ธ

    Loving the inclusion advice. It can be hard, I agree, but it’s definitely beneficial in the long run. Also really good public speaking tips as well. I’m in no position where I’d ever need to do any public speaking but if I ever do in the future, I’m definitely coming back to this post.

    1. Thanks so much Chynna ๐Ÿค—

  7. Once, again congrats! You should be proud!

    Sounds like you were able to learn even more!

    1. Thanks for your support Megan!!

  8. First of all you look like a complete powerhouse in that pink suit! And this is SO COOL that you were nominated and did so well! Not surprising at all though :), you’re amazing! I love the quote that says “do you want to spend the rest of your life fitting in? Or standing out?”, we often try so hard to fit in when we’re really the most celebrated when we stand out from the crowd. Nothing is more energizing than hanging out with a group of equally inspiring women. Kudos to all of you for making waves!

    Susie | http://milehighdreamers.com

    1. Thanks so much Susie! ๐Ÿค— Agreed – standing out is forever the goal ๐Ÿ’–

  9. Major congrats to you on winning 5th place nationally and 1st place locally for the most influential female students contest! I agree with the main takeaway from the talk. If you act like you’re part of it, you will be part of it. I’ve been through so many presentations that I don’t remember the slides at all. I leave it to the presenter to deliver something meaningful or it’s out the door. Glad you got to meet other winners too :)!

    1. Thanks so much Nancy ๐Ÿค—

  10. Congrats on your win! 5th place is really awesome!

  11. PAULINE! This is such awesome news! Congratulations on placing/winning fifth place nationally AND ranking in #1 as most influential female ๐Ÿ™‚ This is definitely something to be proud of! Plus, you wore such a #bossgirl outfit!

    1. Thanks so much Eena!!

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