I know when it’s time to make the leap to a new position, because it scares me. Anytime I have been faced with a career change that really stretched me outside my comfort zone and made me think, “I can’t do this,” or “I’m not ready,” it’s been a clear indication that this is exactly the move I should make.
The biggest asset I have acquired along the way is the ability to build strong and diverse networks of people who are vested in my success; they are in my corner and want to help me be successful. It’s that type of resource that allows you to take those big risks, because you know that you have so many resources and people to turn to for assistance.
I’ve discovered that the barriers you erect for yourself are almost never the ones that create the biggest challenges. It’s the things that you can’t prepare for, or even imagine, that are the most challenging and interesting career builders.
On Letting People Know Who You Are and What You Can Do
I am not afraid to take risks, even if it means that sometimes I may fail. I am pretty open about having made mistakes or wrong decisions. Being open allows you to come across as more human to your team, and allows them to relate to you on a completely different level. I also don’t shy away from letting people know that I have a family that takes priority at times. I am never afraid to say no to a noncritical meeting if I have a prior family commitment. I think people respect you and know what you stand for when you allow them to get to know you personally.
On Doing the Inner Work
By nature I am something of a perfectionist, and have been known to be very focused on details. I have had to step back and allow others to manage day to day tasks, so I can become more strategic in my approach. I have come to terms with the fact that there is no such thing as perfection, and that it’s so much more important to allow yourself the freedom to make mistakes and learn from them. This has been a profound change, not only in my professional life but also in my personal life as I raise my girls.
On Finding Success and Staying Competitive
To succeed and stay competitive, you must have the willingness to take risks and move outside your comfort zone, and quite a bit of support on the home front.
On the Importance of Role Models and Mentors
Very early in my career, there was a gentleman who taught me the value of building great teams of people, of mentoring, and of really paying it forward. You always have to be thinking about how to grow the skills of your team. It keeps you on your toes and creates incredible loyalty.
On Facing Challenges
I took on my first executive-level position when I was eight months pregnant with my first child. I now have three young daughters. Figuring out how to manage them while experiencing the worst economic crisis in our industry’s history was very stressful and challenging, but also very rewarding.
Karie’s Advice to Young Women Starting Careers
Don’t feel as if you have to make a choice. You don’t have to do both, but if you want a career and family life, you can figure out how to make both happen. There is no perfect formula; just customize your life so it suits you best. Perfect is an unrealistic goal. I strive to just be better each day. I am proud that I am a realistic example to my girls. I don’t try and be perfect for them.