How becoming an SoR rep can help develop your career

As Heart Unions Week continues, SoR rep Michaela Clark shares how her work with the Society has shaped her career

Published: 16 February 2024 Trade Union & IR

Heart Unions Week is an event run by the Trade Unions Congress that gives union reps an opportunity to explain the significance of their work, and encourage workers to sign up to a union. 

Taking place from February 12-18, the SoR is supporting members to participate in the Heart Unions Week campaign, and for current members to consider training as representatives of the Society.

As part of the awareness week, the SoR spoke to representatives to understand their passion for union work, how they got involved, and the importance of what they do. 

‘It’s such a good way to get involved’

Michaela Clark is territory manager for the south at private health scan provider Ultrasound Direct as well as being chair of the SoR Delegates' Conference Committee, which plans and manages the Annual Delegates' Conference.

Ms Clark won UK rep of the year in 2017, which sparked her involvement with the UK Council.

“I’ve really loved being a rep," she said, "and I like to challenge the attitude of ‘we’ve always done it that way’. I’ve always asked ‘why?’ We need to understand the reasoning behind every decision. When I became a rep, that was very much the attitude of my department. I quite liked going in and ruffling some feathers, asking questions: ‘Why do we do it like that? What’s the reasoning? Can we change it? Can we be more efficient? Can we do it better?’”

When asked how radiographers and students can get involved in rep work, Ms Clark advised them to work towards elected through the proper pathways and getting the training with the Society.

“Get to know what your boundaries are," she added, "get to know your members. It’s such a good way to get involved with all the people that work in your department. When I became a rep, there were some people I didn’t really know. Becoming a rep gave me insight into everyone’s working pattern, and that was really good when it came to negotiations because I understood what worked for this person, what didn’t for someone else.

‘It taught me how to stand my ground’

“Just do it. It’s not something that’s difficult to get into and you’re never going to find a more interesting job as part of your radiography career. It has guided me massively, it’s given me those negotiation skills, it’s helped me learn how to be firm but fair.

“As a senior manager, I know there are always going to be difficulties in the workplace, but I know how to be fair and to make sure I’m not a pushover. That all came from being a rep. It taught me how to stand my ground.

“Get involved with your executive committee as well, because that is a valuable resource for reps, whether you’re new or if you’ve done it for years. The professional officers especially are a fantastic source of guidance, and can always get you the support you need.”

For more information about becoming an SoR representative, please go here.