A conversation with Ana Faro about her work as a specialist in Diversity, Equality, & Inclusion (DEI)
Ana Faro is an Equality, Diversity & Inclusion (EDI), Culture and Workplace Wellbeing specialist, with over 15 years of experience in the Higher Education sector and with the commitment to create positive social impact. She joins Jo on this podcast to talk about mental health and her work as a specialist in Diversity, Equality, & Inclusion (DEI).
Ana studied Molecular Biology & Genetics at University of Lisbon, Portugal, and has a PhD in Stem Cell Biology & Cancer from Utrecht University, The Netherlands. In 2010, Ana moved to the UK to pursue her postdoctoral studies in Developmental Neurobiology, at University College London.
Throughout her career as a scientist, Ana was always committed to creating opportunities for students from underrepresented and disadvantaged backgrounds to access experience and gain insight into a career in academia.
A few years ago, Ana left the bench and followed her passion for EDI to carve a new career path where she supports Academic institutions in building inclusive workplace cultures with a focus on equity of experiences, belongingness, mental health and wellbeing.
As a student in Portugal, Ana Faro was an advocate for social equity and the democratic access to quality education for all. She grew up in a supportive and privileged background, where she never questioned her access to Higher Education. When she joined University, it soon became apparent that not all her colleagues had been granted the same opportunities as she had, and that was really eye-opening to her. For that reason, she joined the Student Union where she was a vocal advocate for students' rights and for fair and equitable aid for those who did not have the financial means to support their studies.
Once she graduated, she decided to pursue her doctoral studies in the Netherlands. Her PhD research left little-to-no time for her activism, and that part of her laid latent for a few years. When she moved to London, she was desperate for an opportunity to be actively engaged with a meaningful social cause. Science outreach seemed like the most natural outlet, combining her love for science and for widening access to Higher Education. She was also always interested in issues related to gender and racial equity in academia, and passionate about improving research culture.
Which researcher – dead or alive – do you find inspiring? Jane Goodall
What is your favorite animal and why? Tardigrade. Small but mighty.
Name your (current) favorite song and interpret/group. Listening to anything Roisin Murphy on a loop (just went to watch her live in The Royal Albert Hall)
What is your favorite dish/meal? Don't really have one. Love Japanese, Mediterranean and middle eastern cuisine.
Some of the organizations Ana is volunteering for/has volunteered for are:
WHEN - Women in Higher Education Network. Here I supported the production of two major reports.
Native Scientists; a non-profit organization that celebrates diversity by promoting scientific and linguistic literacy to children of immigrant communities while exposing them to role models who speak their native language.
Ana currently volunteers as a Trustee for Respeito, a UK-based charity reducing domestic abuse in the Portuguese speaking community by raising awareness of its negative impact and by providing training, support and information to empower people to become agents for change.