In today’s post we meet Laura Cockram, Communications Manager for the Research Support Office and talk about engagement, change and campaigning for better cycling routes.
What led you to work at the University?
Like my colleagues in the Research Support Office, I was looking for a place and role where I would be able to make a contribution. I had been working in the international development sector for 10 years, then took a career break to have my family and move home to Edinburgh. I explored a number of organisations and the University of Edinburgh stood out as somewhere where I could make good use of my experience in research communication, stakeholder engagement, internal communication, organisational development and change management.
How long have you been at the University?
I’ve been working at the University for 4 years. My first role was as Communications Officer for a research centre. Then I moved into the Research Support Office as Knowledge Exchange Adviser. I am now Communications Manager for the Research Support Office.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
I have really nice colleagues, I get to be creative and no two days are the same!
Ask me about…
Stakeholder engagement, staff engagement, bringing people with you during change, knowledge exchange, research impact, cycling, running a school parent council and hearty winter recipes.
What are you working on just now?
RSO offers a huge amount of expertise across research funding, strategic research development, knowledge exchange & impact and contracts. We are evolving to meet the needs of the University and 2018/19 is a year of change and transition for us. I am responsible for the communications about, and stakeholder engagement in, this change. I have been working closely with the Senior Management Team on engaging colleagues in RSO to build a strong team and a culture that enables us to deliver our ambition. The next phase of this work, which I’m scoping just now, is about our engagement with the research community in the University.
Proudest moment at work?
I am passionate about creating collaborative, participative and genuine opportunities for colleagues to contribute to creating an organisational culture that everyone owns. It feels like the work I’ve done on this, in previous roles and at the University, has made a difference to people and I am proud of that.
What’s your favourite type of cake?
You may have gathered from these ‘meet the team’ posts that we have a bit of a cake thing going on in RSO. We have many talented bakers, but I’m not one of them, sadly. I am good at making soup though! This is one of my favourites at the moment.
What do you like doing when you are not being RSO Communications Manager?
Cycling – I’m a recent and enthusiastic adopter of the e-bike! I’ve started a petition calling for better cycle routes between Edinburgh and Midlothian. If you live out that way and would like to cycle but don’t feel it is safe enough, please sign and share! Spokes are campaigning on this issue.
And having an energetic small person in my life means I’ve tried all sorts of things like trampolining, bouldering and rollerskating. Needless to say, she is considerably better than I am at all of them, but we have fun!
Favourite thing to do in Edinburgh?
Edinburgh is a great city for walking and I love a wander on a cold, crisp autumn day. Not bouldering, to be honest.