No career journey has ever followed a straight path; there are often unexpected twists and turns. Whether it’s deciding to make a complete career change, trying to balance your professional and personal lives, or figuring out how to advance within your organization, the road to success is far from easy. Sometimes we just need confirmation from those who have had similar experiences that everything will work out in the end, or sage and trusted directions on how to get there. The Catalyst Connects series was designed for women who have “been there and done that” to share their experiences and valuable career advice about what it takes to succeed in the workplace. We’ve rounded up the top seven gems that have been shared by senior women business leaders at the Connects events over the last few years. We hope the words of these women inspire you, as they have thousands of participants thus far, in both your professional and personal journeys.
“Be true to who you are. Work for an organization with values that align with yours. If that is not where you are, think about making a change.”—Mandy Shapansky, Retired President and Chief Executive Officer, Xerox Canada, Toronto, June 2012
“Change is not comfortable and most people don’t like it, but keep an open mind when considering new opportunities—acknowledge your fears and embrace the chance to learn and contribute differently.” —Christine Hendrickson, Roth CFO and Vice President of Finance, Sodexo, October 2013
“When blazing a new trail, it is imperative to have a ‘personal board of directors’ to support you through the rough patches.” —Jacquie Berglund, Founder & CEO, FINNEGANS, Inc., December 2013
“Be constructively unsatisfied—growth is achieved by continuously asking yourself and your team what can be improved and aiming to always be better.” —Romaine M. Seguin, President, UPS International, Inc., Americas Region, November 2013
“Be realistic about what you can do. You don’t have to be everything to everybody. I have two children under age four (and a dog), and no extended family network to help. I used to feel guilty about not being able to do it all—and then I realized that I don’t have to do it all. I do the things that are important to my family. I always make a cake on my husband and my girls’ birthdays. It might be from a mix, but it’s homemade!” —Michelle Nelson, Sr. Director, Human Resources, Sam’s Club, March 2013
“I want to empower employees to be themselves. People don’t go into a phone booth and change into superheroes when they come to work. They come in with their own backgrounds, foundations, and beliefs. When I started working, I was so poor I only had one work outfit. A mid-level supervisor lovingly told me, ‘Get rid of those red hooker shoes and take out those braids.’ I went home and cried and called my mama, and she helped me take out the braids, and we got church friends to lend me some acceptable shoes. Now, I wear whatever the heck I want to wear—I have on polka dot shoes right now!” —Cynthia G. Marshall, Senior Vice President, Human Resources, AT&T, March 2013
“You have to know who you are and how you want to be perceived in the environment that you work in. If you can show how you are beneficial to the business, then your gender and age become irrelevant.”—Laurel K. Rutledge, Vice President, Human Resources, Bayer Material Science LLC, October 2014
Feeling motivated by these words of wisdom? Register for our Catalyst Connects with Past Award-Winners session during our first ever Virtual Conference!