We asked Jo Ballot, Clinical Research Manager at St. Vincent’s University Hospital to share with us some insights on her experiences and how she draws inspiration from the environment around her, role models she had during her careers, the best advice she received since Covid-19 hit the world, and what does the slogan “Choose to Challenge” mean to her.
Voltedge: What is your current role and how long you have held this position?
Jo: I work as the oncology clinical research manager at Clinical Cancer Research Trust charity located in St Vincent’s University Hospital , leading a team of research nurses, data managers and research assistants. Together, we facilitate access to new treatment options for oncology patients . I have worked in Oncology Research for over 20 years and am in my present position since 2011.
Voltedge: Where do you draw inspiration from?
Jo: My inspiration is derived from being part of a team which offers the latest cancer treatment options to patients through the clinical trial process with the goal of extending their lives. There is huge satisfaction to see new oncology treatments becoming approved for the use to a wider patient population resulting from our research team and patients collaboration.
Voltedge: During the course of your career, was there a role model or mentor that stands out for you?
Jo: Throughout my career, I have worked with many inspirational role models, nurses, doctors, scientists and pharmacists, however there are certain patients who continuously stand out, their ability to plough on, their ongoing resilience, in the face of extreme adversity. I get huge job satisfaction and drive because of their ability to keep going.
Voltedge: What is the best piece of advice you received since Covid-19 hit the world?
Jo: This too will pass.
Voltedge: Can you share with us 2 or 3 positives in your personal life that you have discovered during the pandemic?
Jo: My down time has become leisurely, for the obvious reasons but I have learnt to enjoy a slower and more pleasurable pace, traditionally, my downtime was busy, too busy at times. I am definitely enjoying my garden more, no longer seeing it as a chore, and I am delighted to be still sea swimming since last March. I am surprising and delighting myself with each dip. It has become a lovely refresh and rebalance opportunity each weekend. I also qualified as a Yoga Teacher last September and am slowly exploring some teaching online.
Voltedge: In light of so much remote working and social distancing, what practices or approach have you taken to try to communicate and collaborate effectively during this time and to support employees?
Jo: We have been hospital based for the majority of the year with some remote working which took time to figure out communication paths, we were lucky that we lived within close radius to the hospital and each other, so frequent detours via bike to drop work packages. We meet as a team weekly on Microsoft Teams and agreed collectively to turn on cameras and take a moment to check in on a social level and a final roundup at close of meeting to share forthcoming weeks work. . We have been creative regarding on line celebrations of Christmas party, ‘ noughty ‘ birthday and other events during throughout the year. A few random quizzes have provided a refresh/reset button . Next up is the St Patricks Day Quiz and board game challenge.
Voltedge: What does the slogan ‘Choose to Challenge’ mean to you?
Jo: Simply, I have a voice, I can choose to use it positively to speak out against traditionally accepted inequalities and less favourable opportunities available to other people, in my work and personal life.
Voltedge: What is your favourite quote and why?
Jo: My favourite work quote is a hybrid of practical attitude and hopeful thinking, my almost daily quote is ‘It is what it is’ but balanced by ‘tomorrow is another day’.