From taking part on expeditions across Antarctica, working as a Seabird Ecologist on the Isles of Scilly, to printmaking beautiful linocut images of seabirds, Vickie Heaney’s career has been hugely varied. In our latest International Women’s Day Interviews, we asked her about her proudest achievements and who has been a pivotal role model in her career.
As far as #Balanceforbetter, I think it’s really important for girls and young women to have inspiring role models represented in the news and social media. This is especially true for fields that are traditionally more male dominated such as STEM. – Vickie Heaney
Can you tell us a little bit more about your background?
I started my printmaking business in Scilly just over 10 years ago now and have built it up to provide an increasing proportion of my income each year. My background is zoology with a PhD on seabirds and I combine my art business (creating linocut images of mainly seabirds) with working as Seabird Ecologist for the Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust in the summers. To complete my island dream life I travel South in the winters to work as Ornithologist on expedition cruise ships in Antarctica.
What has been your proudest achievement so far?
Among my proudest achievements so far have been travelling to and working on the sub-Antarctic island of South Georgia and getting a print, inspired by my time there, accepted for the Society of Wildlife Artists Annual Natural Eye exhibition in October last year.
If you were to turn back time and give yourself one piece of advice before you started your business what would it be?
My advice to ‘pre-artist me’ would be to ‘Grasp Kairos by the Forelock!’ (Basically another version of Carpe Deim – meet the chance opportunities fate offers, head-on; Go for it)
Who are/is the most important women/woman in your life and how have they influenced you?
In my professional career I’ve been inspired by many brilliant, generous and creative women from my undergraduate college tutor, to my PhD supervisor and my Expedition Leader in Antarctica. In particular, my colleague here in Scilly, fused and stained-glass artist Oriel Hicks, has been incredibly supportive and influential in my art career. Her energy and enthusiasm is legendary and she’s great for bouncing ideas off and working on joint projects such as our annual Scilly Arts Festival.
The theme for International Women’s Day this year is #balanceforbetter what do you think businesses can do to help achieve this? Are there steps that you are taking in your own business to achieve greater balance?
As far as #Balanceforbetter, I think it’s really important for girls and young women to have inspiring role models represented in the news and social media. This is especially true for fields that are traditionally more male dominated such as STEM. Having completed a science PhD myself, which involved being regularly covered in bird poop, I particularly enjoyed the #distractinglysexy trend in 2015.
In our International Women’s Day Interviews series, we also spoke with Amanda Winwood, founder of Made For Life Organics, Katherine George, founder of Oh So Social, Emily Stevenson from Beach Guardian, and Gail Irvine of Dynamo Healthcare Training. Keep your eyes on our news stories as we share the experiences of more local business women and entrepreneurs over the coming day.