Much has changed in the 22 years since I joined the corporate world. Not so long ago, a woman executive was the stuff of headlines. Today, one expects large companies to have women in their upper ranks. However, some things are still constant and need to evolve as we take our rightful places as leaders in corporate America. I hope women will become more confident to take credit for their hard work and successes. If you don’t sell yourself and your work, no one will. And, now, more than ever, we should reach out to other women who need the benefit of our counsel and experience on this step, and other important steps/ skills that attribute to one’s success.
Everyone knows the importance of taking on difficult tasks to showcase your abilities, organizational skills, leadership qualities, and the other important attributes of a seasoned professional. Yet delivering a superior outcome doesn’t ensure that your efforts are visible to the right person or people. Oftentimes the corporate world, hectic schedules, and tight deadlines require the focus to be more on the result, and less on the person who was responsible for that result. You have the ability to put the focus on both.
For example, if you’re proud of a specific accomplishment, a successful project that you undertook, or an event that you chaired, give a written recap to your boss for him/ her to pass along to the executive team or other key players within the organization. If you were the leader of a project team, send a message thanking the team for their work, and copy their bosses. This not only lets them shine, but lets you shine as the person at the helm.
Once you’ve achieved certain self-determined goals, remember the importance of sharing your lessons with other women. Be a mentor. I know that it is my responsibility to not only elevate in my career, but to help other women do the same. Had someone not mentored me, I probably would not be where I am today.
Early in my career, I was mentored by someone who recognized certain qualities and strengths that I myself did not recognize. I worked hard and applied myself, but I wasn’t able to see my potential as broadly as someone else could. Most of us can say the same. Our accomplishments were achieved largely because of the advice and mentorship of others, so by mentoring, we’re not just paying it forward; we’re paying it back.