by Amy Smith · 20 Jul 2020 · 6 min read
On Wednesday August 2nd 2017 I had one of the most significant experiences in my entrepreneurial journey. I was seated next to some of the most successful businessmen in America. To my left was Mr. Warren Buffett, Chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, a few seats away was Michael Bloomberg, former Mayor of New York, to my right was Dr. Michael Porter, esteemed professor at Harvard Business School and across the room was Lloyd Blankfein, CEO of Goldman Sachs. I had to pinch myself, because this was beyond my wildest dreams. How did I go from whipping up shea butter lotions and potions in my kitchen for my eczema prone children, to sitting in a room with people whose net worth exceeds that of small countries?
It's a familiar process and has always seemed like pretty solid advice to score a secure career. However, this age of innovation may call for a process that is less linear. Instead of the classic—go to college first then join the workforce after graduating—we must consider education and work together. You know, both actually happening at the same time.
The Emotional Process Helping Women Leaders Thrive
It all started when I began documenting my daughter's 436-day hospital stay on Instagram. She was a perfectly healthy 3-year-old and out of nowhere had a ruptured appendix made worse by a failed immune system. Sepsis began to consume her body and talking about it on social media was my way to cope with the fear of the unknown...
Liz Elting, Founder and CEO of the Elizabeth Elting Foundation and one of Forbes richest self-made women is officially here to bring you the answers you need. This week: "Is it even feasible for startups to think about fundraising during this time?" and "How should VC-backed startups start preparing for the post-coronavirus era?" Find out what she has to say! Or send over your own questions to email@example.com
After feeling suffocated in my professional life as a business strategist, I realized that I already had all the tools I needed to turn my life around. So, I began strategizing my own career like I would a brand.
I've worked in Human Resources for nearly a decade, and throughout all my roles, I've passionately incorporated diversity initiatives to help make companies more inclusive. Recently, many businesses have made public pledges around diversity in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests. Statements are one small step in the right direction, but much more needs to be done.
As a seasoned business strategist, I've made a career out of creating growth strategies that revolve around the business's value propositions. Now, I've come to adopt that strategic mindset when it comes to career advancement as well. How have I done that? Simply put: I remove the personal and strategize myself as I would a brand. I document short-term goals that balance my skills and my values. I hold myself accountable for growth in designated areas of my position outside of company-specific performance metrics. And I maintain a level of self-awareness and acceptance by analyzing my professional self as I would a potential target market. All of that professional strategic planning is used to create a roadmap to growth and, from there, advocate in a way that provides gains: financially, promotionally, and personally.
If you needed to hire a professional to let's say cater a dinner, head your marketing department, or perhaps act as an expert for you on a legal matter. How would you expect them to dress? I will take a guess here and say you imagine each person with a different look, vibe, and as presenting themselves in unique ways. If their style fell short of what's perceived to be acceptable within their industry, you may even underestimate their skill set. You may question their ability to be trustworthy, confident, or knowledgeable.
In my line of work, strategic initiatives and planning are the foundation of growth and success. Once that strategy is in effect, we must continually analyze and assess its position, perspective, and potential to increase gains and profit. The same is true for career advancement. We are each individual brands seeking growth. Much like the businesses I formulate strategies for, we as professionals will make some mistakes along the way that deter us from our full career potential. When I look back at my journey and my brand there are three outstanding mistakes that come to mind that I've found to be common among all professionals.