December 06, 2018
Dance and science have helped my career in consulting
By: Emma Gin

I started my career as an organic chemist, but soon realised it was a very solitary career and wasn’t for me.

I decided to pursue a different path and consulting felt like a natural progression from life as a scientist. I joined Accenture two years ago as a grad and I’m now a technology consultant.

Since joining Accenture, I've realised the value in diverse experience and backgrounds – not just from a work point of view but also the diversity we bring from our hobbies and other life experiences.

And dance is one of them for me. Dancing is my passion and I've been salsa dancing for eight years, competing at a national level. Over the years, I’ve realised my hobbies and experience continue to help me be my best self at work. Here’s how:

Problem solving
Science is problem solving and it felt like a natural progression for me to move into consulting. Problem solving and thinking outside the box and having to do it pretty quickly is one of the benefits of my experience as a scientist. A lot of what we do in consulting is maximising efficiencies for our clients, which is similar to my work in science – optimising processes.

Ability to research
Science and research gives you the ability to discern what's good information and what's bad. In the digital age, there is so much information out there that might not be useful - but from four years of research I can quickly read through something and know if it's worthwhile.

On stage, I tell myself that I am the best version and best dancer that I can be in the moment. I’ve also surrounded myself with a great supportive network who encourage me to be my best. When I am presenting at work or facing something I am unsure about, I try to exude the same level of confidence and keep in mind a similar mantra. I also have supportive mentors and colleagues who help and provide me opportunities to showcase my talents.

World Salsa Solo Competition, Brisbane, 2017

World Salsa Solo Competition, Brisbane, 2017

Being a scientist you have to be brave and delve into the unknown. When you get to that high degree of research you're often on the edge of a very small area and potentially doing work that nobody else has done before. It's helped me in my career at Accenture because it's made me brave enough to ask questions that other people might not want to.

As a dancer, it's similar. I do a lot of solo dancing and when you're alone on that stage it can be pretty scary because you're essentially saying - please like my work. It's a brave thing to do because of course people might not like what you do.

Dance helps me be disciplined with my working hours and how much I can achieve. I try to finish work at a reasonable hour to get to dance class. It’s pretty easy to be all consumed with something such as work - but dancing helps me detach and switch the brain over to something else.

Balancing my time and energy between working and dancing can be challenging, but I set the right expectations and manage my workloads around my performances and training times. With determination, discipline and a supportive team at work, I generally can manage both.

Science, dancing and consulting are all in line in terms of developing tenacity. With science, you really have to keep working at it. Your reactions don't work time and time again but when they finally do you get that satisfaction. It’s the same with dance. I am not a naturally gifted dancer, so I had to work hard on my technique. Sometimes, I don’t want to do a routine because it’s too difficult, but I persist and keep practicing. You work on it and work on it and you get better and better. When I look at a video from three years ago compared to now I'm a completely different dancer. And this tenacity has helped me in work. Invariably projects can be hard and challenging, but you keep working through it, communicate with your team and ask all the questions to determine the best solution for your client.

It's pretty simple - if you don't practice together, you're going to look like a mess on stage. And this is translated to when you're working as a team on a project too.

For me, dancing is more than just a sport or hobby. Whilst I am able to get a bit more exercise, there’s a learning and social element with salsa. I have incredible friends through the scene and I’m able to continuously use my brain by perfecting my technique or learning a new choreography. By dancing my heart out, I get to keep doing something I enjoy, which enables me to do better at my job.

World Salsa Solo Competition, Brisbane, 2017

World Salsa Solo Competition, Brisbane, 2017

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