Skip to content

My SDF Story with Caron Foster

Woman standing near water featureWhere do you work and what is your role?

I work as a Staff Development Advisor at the University of Aberdeen in the North East of Scotland.

When did you join the SDF?

In the first week of starting my job at the University of Aberdeen in July 2021.

Why did you want to join the SDF?

I didn’t know about it and my line manager organised my membership, I am forever grateful to her 

What’s the best thing about the SDF?

The sharing and the collaboration that is fostered within the SDF.

What are you working on at the moment?

Designing a programme for a professional services team that has suddenly grown in size with a number of new members joining in the last 3 months. The purpose of the session is to build cohesion and to provide a platform for a second session where the team will develop their own team charter.

What does a typical day look like?

Every day is very varied so it is hard to describe a typical one, which is why I love my job so much. There will be meetings to discuss professional development needs of teams or individuals in certain specific positions within the organisation. I may need to design a training programme and related slide deck and perhaps a mentoring session with a mentee.

Tell us about an event that altered the course of your life/and career.

I was at a work event and the CEO made an announcement that no one seemed to know was going to happen and the announcement had a huge impact on my particular job at the time. There and then I decided I was going to resign and that thought sparked the whole relocation journey from South Africa to Scotland.

The person who has influenced you the most is

My mother. She is always looking for personal and intellectual challenges to stimulate her and ensure she learns and grows every day.

Work life balance – what leisure activity you enjoy the most?

Walking my dogs! They have forced me outside everyday which has helped me get to know the beautiful countryside of the North East coast of Scotland and adapt to the weather after living in the very mild climate of the coastal city where I come from in South Africa.

Something about you people would find surprising.

I spent a year volunteering at an Interfaith Peace Centre where I became a qualified Hatha Yoga Teacher.

What’s your greatest fear?

To look back on my life and have ‘Should have done/Could have done?’ questions in my mind.

Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?

I am the youngest of four siblings. We get on extremely well, but as adults we have not been living in the same country for the last 20 years. We do see each other often, just not all together. My dream dinner party would be to have all my siblings and their partners and children around the dinner table…. the table would need to be large to fit all 20 family members 

What would your super-power be? 

To be fluent in all languages.

What’s your favourite/least favourite food?

Favourite Food: Vegan Ice cream. Least Favourite Food: Haggis 

What’s the worst job you ever had?

A waitron at a very busy student bar while I was studying at university. It was a very popular drinking spot for students so I had to deal with drunk students …urggghhh…I didn’t last long and found a waitron job in a restaurant that few students could afford very quickly!

What thing would improve the quality of your life?

More time!?! There never seems to be enough hours in the day to get to all I want to do 

What’s coming next for you?

Providing more professional development opportunities for the staff of the University of Aberdeen so that everyone has the support needed to fulfil their full potential and reach their career aspirations.