184 – Don’t push your bias onto others – Fiona Wood

Posted by  Anecdote International —May 16, 2023
Filed in Anecdotes, Podcast

Opinions aren’t facts. Listen to hear how surgeon Fiona Wood set the record straight when her son’s partner was told to reconsider her chosen career path.

University group

Welcome back to another Anecdotally Speaking podcast! We’ve been doing some travel, so our episodes have been less regular than usual, but we are back this week with a story from renowned Australian surgeon Fiona Wood!

Before getting into the story, Shawn and Mark talk about ChatGPT and how it can help us tell more stories at work. They also reveal how the AI scored on our story spotting quiz, The Story Test, which you can find and take here.

For your story bank

Tags: bias, experts, gender, opinion

This story starts at 09:30

Fiona Wood is a surgeon who specialises in burns. She became prominent in the early 2000s after the Bali bombings, which killed hundreds of people and left hundreds more horribly burned. Fiona led the burns department of a Perth hospital which treated many victims.

Fiona invented spray-on skin, a revolution in burns treatment, and used that technology to treat people. She became Australian of the Year in 2005 and was voted Most Trusted Australian several years in a row.

Fiona was interviewed for International Women’s Day this year. She shared that a few years ago, one of her sons came over with his partner, a medical student considering becoming a surgeon. She was a member of a surgical interest group at her university, and they often had guest speakers present to them.

When the pair came over, she was upset. Two surgeons had come to speak to her group, a male and female, and said, “If you’re a female and you’re considering becoming a surgeon, think hard about what you really want. If you want a family, this is not the career for you.”

She was considering giving it up, as were other women in the group. Fiona, a mother of six children, wasn’t happy.

Fiona called the Dean of the university and asked to speak to the group. The Dean was more than happy for her to do so.

She introduced herself to the group. “Hi, I’m Fiona Wood. I’m a surgeon, so is my husband, and we have six children. So unless you’re prepared to have six children, you won’t be able to consider a career in surgery.”

A few people started to walk out, so she stopped them.

She said, “Hang on, two people stood here last week. They said that you shouldn’t consider a career in surgery if you’re a woman and wanting to have a family. I’m here, telling you I’m a surgeon with six children, and you don’t believe me. Be careful what opinions other people hoist on you.”

About  Anecdote International

Anecdote International is a global training and consulting company, specialising in utilising storytelling to bring humanity back to the workforce. Anecdote is now unique in having a global network of over 60 partners in 28 countries, with their learning programs translated into 11 languages, and customers who incorporate these programs into their leadership and sales enablement activities.

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