Inspiring Woman 2020


Helen Williams, a third-year doctoral candidate, is an emerging and innovative research scholar within the School of Management, an active contributor to Athena SWAN, and a confident member of the LGBTQ+ community. Whether Helen is facilitating an undergraduate seminar, presenting a paper at a conference, or providing friendly advice to her fellow PGR peers – passion and positivity exude from her. She has developed a reputation as a critical and thoughtful colleague, and always seeks to contribute to the life of SoM through her own research endeavors and beyond.

Specifically, Helen’s research contributions have advanced scholarly debates and applied issues in the field of entrepreneurship. While much of the current entrepreneurial scholarship focuses on entrepreneurship as an economic activity concerned with wealth-creation, Helen’s empirical study challenges these assumptions and identifies diverse ways of experiencing and practicing entrepreneurship. Unique to her research is the innovative methodological approach and novel use of LEGO® – the implementation of Lego is the first of its kind in this field, and has considerable scope to translate into meaningful impact. This research has drawn cross-disciplinary attention by other Universities (e.g. Cardiff University), and stemmed new collaborative potential, resulting in invitations to lead research seminars and workshops for other researchers and graduate students interested in using material methodologies in their own work. 

Drawing on her previous professional experiences as an organisational psychologist, Helen continuously demonstrates a desire to promote meaningful change and is enthusiastic about helping others succeed in the School of Management. She inspires others through her professionalism and confidence, as well as her positive approach to the relationships she forges at the University.

Her excellence in qualitative research has been noticed amongst her peers, and she readily offers advice and guidance to fellow PhD students. Helen has also been involved in designing training sessions for Graduate Teaching Assistants with limited teaching experience. Her inclusive pedagogical approach and commitment towards providing a supportive environment for undergraduate students has been appreciated by the students within her classroom, and recognized by senior management throughout the School.

Finally, Helen believes that Swansea University cannot reach its full potential unless we foster the talents of all. As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, she brings further insights and perspectives on the importance of diversity and inclusion, increasing the Athena Swan profile at the School of Management. Helen was central to School of Management’s successful Athena SWAN submission in 2019, as part of the small team that performed the final stages of data analysis and completed the application. With Helen’s help, the School was awarded a Bronze Athena SWAN Charter Award.