As I began my professional journey, I created a career plan that outlined my background, core strengths and areas for development. The plan also included desired position attributes, and one-to-three, three-to-five, and five-plus year plans that aligned to my strengths and interests. I shared my career plan with any contacts I made who were willing to listen—my manager, peers, sponsors, mentors, internal HR recruiters, etc. This process helped others match my strengths and career aspirations to potential opportunities within the organization.
I selected leaders from across the business and set up informal mentoring sessions with them to enhance my personal exposure and learn more about their functional area. These sessions not only allowed me to gain insights into different parts of the business, they also helped me identify areas of the business that might be of greatest interest to me moving forward.
Attending as many company meetings, trainings, and relevant industry events as possible was also important in order to build and enhance my internal and external network. Attendance at these types of events provided me with exposure to the overall business, as well as access to key people inside the business. I made the most of these experiences by taking the lead on activities or projects, or volunteering to be a speaker in order to stand out from others in the group.
On Finding Success and Staying Competitive
To stay competitive, you must take calculated risks and remain close to the market and the customers you serve. This way you don’t lose touch with what is happening outside of your business. To achieve success, you start by having effective internal and external communications, and then establish and build trust and credibility with your employees.
Emilie’s Advice to Young Women Starting Careers
First, identify what you like to do and what you are good at. This will help set the direction for your career. Second, define your own path and go after what you want. Don’t wait for someone to do it for you.