Over the years I have found that having an entrepreneurial spirit is critical to advancing your career and along with that committing yourself to applying a positive attitude when it comes to learning from others.

Young professional women must not only be proactive in identifying and pursuing the best opportunities for personal growth; but they must also not let personality be a barrier to a potentially great business coach or learning opportunity. In other words, we don’t have to be like everyone we work with. In fact, we won’t. However, there are likely several times in a career when some of the best stuff, the most brilliant negotiating skills or decision-making approach, or the best strategic thinking or operational process is exemplified by a person with whom you might not naturally socialize.

Seize those opportunities and don’t be immobilized because of possible personality or style differences. Instead find and absorb the good stuff and incorporate it into your own repertoire of skills. It’s about being able to see through a person’s layers in order to better understand the mechanics of a particular strength that you may want to develop. You can do that while being true to yourself and at the same time keeping your own style.

Over the years I have learned many hard skills from people whose soft skills I would not necessarily want to emulate! Seizing these opportunities is one way of taking ownership for one’s personal growth.

I helped co-found CDW’s Women-to-Women Network, an organization that cultivates and supports female leadership within the organization. In the network we try to encourage the concept of owning your personal growth. Through networking and the sharing of key lessons we have found that this peer-topeer network provides an additional outlet for women to learn from each other and succeed as a group.

Every opportunity counts for them to help each other guide their career paths. As we continue this program we will look for new and different ways to acknowledge the importance of female managers and their contributions to the company by providing access to tools and experts that promote professional development and growth.