President of the American College of Radiology (ACR) Geraldine McGinty, also a radiologist and the chief strategy officer, as well as the chief contracting officer, at Weill Cornell Medicine (New York City, USA), presented the InspIRed Lecture at the 2021 meeting of the Society of Interventional Radiology (SIR; 20–26 March, online). She offered her reflections on “being a first”—in May 2018, McGinty was elected chair of the Board of Chancellors of ACR, the first woman to hold this office in the society’s nearly 100-year history.
McGinty also highlighted the importance of taking an intersectional approach to mentoring and networking, with several of her key takeaways referencing using your privilege and access to enable opportunities “not just for people who look like you”.
Delivering her InspIRed Lecture on 21 March, McGinty gave ten central lessons for women and other under-represented groups in interventional radiology (IR):
- Be thoughtful about the privilege you have on your journey! McGinty encouraged those with power to use it for good.
- Everyone is different, and that is a good thing. Acknowledge the different ways people may function, and help power your team more effectively.
- You are the one who gets to tell your story. Whether the best part of your day is a clinical case or seeing your favourite show, it is up to you to define that.
- You decide what is important. Be thoughtful about where you want to make your effort, and do not leave your value on the table. When you negotiate, it is about more than salary.
- You can be authentic. “I have tended to be more successful when I have done that.” But you may need to conform to get to the table.
- You have an obligation to pay it forward, and not just for people who look like you.
- You will bet on people who will disappoint you, and you may get the most help from where you least expect it. Do not rule out those who do not look like you as mentors.
- To quote Reshma Saujani, founder of Girls Who Code: Be brave, not perfect.
- Thoughtfully build your network. Seek out people doing interesting work, asking for time with them (perhaps even just a few minutes). You should also have a squad with whom you can discuss issues such as salary and who will support you know matter what.
- Think big: “We have to make it okay for us to have ambitious!” You will face criticism, but the work could not be more important. InspIRed