“Before you act you have to understand and to understand you have to ask. That requires curiosity, calmness and courage.” - Greta Carrete Vega

23/05/2021 | Greta Carrete Vega

Greta Carrete has a PhD in Natural Resource Conservation. Her main aim is to bring science closer to the rest of society through the creation of tools that enable people to make changes which have a positive impact on the environment and, as a result, help to achieve a fairer and more sustainable world.

To do this, Greta and her team need to understand ecological systems, a task that has taken her to four continents, including Antarctica. However, it's not an easy thing to do, as it requires a large range and quantity of data, which are then shared and, once interpreted, help to protect the environment. 

As it is a process that involves combining data from many different sectors, it requires the use of specialists from other areas. For this reason, it is very important to know how to listen to the other team members to be able to see the problem from other perspectives and find the most effective solution

The skills of active listening, analysis, critical thinking and leadership are vital for influential people who, like Greta, seek fair and sustainable solutions. It is even more important these days, when environmental protection to combat climate change and save our planet has become so important.

Thanks to her academic training and knowledge, but also her work and volunteering experience, Greta is able to achieve her aim of bringing science closer to the rest of society, particularly in the field of environmental conservation and biodiversity. To acquire the skills needed to recognise the daily processes, and be capable of analysing situations and communicating them to her team, she took part in the Santander Women | Emerging Leaders Scholarships - LSE programme. This course is designed for women with 5-12 years employment experience who want to strengthen their negotiating skills to boost their professional careers and take up positions of responsibility.

 

“All types of information are useful to be able to adapt and survive.” - Greta Carrete Vega

As a scientist, Greta Carrete is very mindful of the importance of asking questions and, in particular, of unbiased listening. She accepts that searching for information could be a weakness, as the first step involved assumes a lack of knowledge. However, she thinks that, when you have the necessary willingness to understand and apply the information you obtain, answers are the best way of making progress. 

Her depth of knowledge about ecological systems allows her to use her logic and, even, apply it in other areas, such as business management. She is aware of the value and importance of the constant gathering of information, whether by communicating with other people or through data analysis. She considers collaboration between different types of specialism to be essential in her particular field. Communication with other professionals, in a variety of areas, is an integral part of her work. 

At the same time, she needs to maintain a global view in order to see the same problem from different perspectives and find creative solutions. These abilities have already given her a major advantage in leadership, but the Santander Women | Emerging Leaders Scholarships - LSE course has helped to combine and structure these skills, give them a name and show how they can be applied, both in her own field and in leadership positions in general. She explains that her experience has given her a new way of understanding concepts that she was already familiar with, something which is extremely valuable in an area like hers. 

“Giving a name to the things we experience in our daily lives and demonstrating our past research helps us to analyse situations.”

Greta Carrete Vega

Santander Women | Emerging Leaders Scholarships - LSE: an approach applicable to a variety of industries and jobs

As Greta shows, the skills of leadership, communication and adaptation are essential. For this reason, Banco Santander, together with the London School of Economics, has launched Santander Women | Emerging Leaders Scholarships - LSE, an innovative, online training course to strengthen these skills and boost the professional careers of the next generation of women leaders. 

This course involves learning the concepts, techniques and basic skills of negotiation, and also provides personal development plans aimed at capturing all the knowledge and tools acquired during the seven weeks of the programme. Participants can also swap experiences and create a community with an extensive network of contacts among professional women with similar goals.

The ultimate aim is not only to move closer to effective equality in senior positions, but also to work towards leadership which is open minded, aware and conciliatory. For this reason, part of the Santander Women | Emerging Leaders Scholarships - LSE programme includes an exploration into the effects of unconscious bias, of cultural differences and of non-verbal communication for active listening and an effective exchange of information.

Greta Carrete has learnt valuable lessons in these training sessions and she feels better equipped for listening to and coordinating a varied team of people, like the one she leads in her daily work of researching and developing digital platforms. She says that anyone can benefit from a better understanding of the techniques for more effective communication in negotiations. However, she highlights in particular the advantages it offers women, whose voice still remains unheard in many areas. Overall, Greta summarises her experience as “enlightening”.

As a biodiversity scientist and researcher, she has been able to benefit from taking part in Santander Women | Emerging Leaders Scholarships - LSE. She is aware that she will be able to use the tools, skills and techniques she has learnt in other areas, as the ability to establish connections and be a skilled negotiator are very useful in many work environments.  

If you have 5-12 years of employment experience and, like Greta, you want to discover and master the skills and techniques needed to be a good leader, sign up to take part in Santander Women | Emerging Leaders Scholarships - LSE and get the best toolkit to develop your leadership skills. Make the most of this opportunity!

(At the moment the Becas Santander Women | Emerging Leaders - LSE has reached its end, but we encourage you to take a look at the Santander Scholarships to find the training that best suits you and give a boost to your professional career. Seize the chance to develop your knowledge and skills!)

Connson Locke

Greta Carrete Vega, PhD in Natural Resource Conservation