Dilemma: Being a Role Model While Maintaining Privacy

By: Laura Thompson

“You can’t be what you can’t see”

— Marian Wright Edelman

I talk to many academics about the importance of great role models. Seeing someone go before you and successfully juggle work and family life can be really inspiring, providing a source of advice and tips. But being a role model is not without challenges – maintaining the privacy of family members is often of paramount concern. How can we be good role models for other parents and carers working in academia, while ensuring our family are not receiving unwanted exposure?

A recent article published in the Nature careers column by Dr Sascha Hooker from St. Andrews University, Scotland, provided a thoughtful discussion of these seemly competing activities: balancing privacy and honesty to become a great model. If you want to be a role model but are concerned about privacy issues, then I highly recommend checking out this article.