Networking outside of my company helped me rise in my career – I recommend it to everyone
I spent most of my career at one company that was acquired multiple times over the almost 30 years I was with them. I was fortunate to have survived many lay-offs, mergers, internal changes, always selected to be a part of technology projects and product launches, but my progression was not as stellar as the body of work I was producing. I had an impeccable reputation internally, and thought of as the person to get stuff done or supported; but my title did not reflect it.
Almost 20 years into my career, an industry colleague urged me to join our industry associations to network outside of my company and to meet other professionals across our industry. I followed her advice and an entirely new world opened up to me. I met the most amazing women executives across our industry, joined committees to utilize my expertise and to strengthen skills I wanted to build. I began to work on high profile industry events with these associations and the exposure in a leadership capacity at these events raised my visibility in the industry and more importantly – changed my perception within the company.
They saw me in a different light. I eventually joined the board of several high-profile associations in the industry, began to speak at events, and became president. Those key interactions and networking paid off tremendously. So much so that I eventually departed my employer after 28 years after I was hired by the CEO of one of the industry associations. By virtue of my work at that association, another CEO six years later asked me to join my current employer as chief marketing officer; a few months later I was asked to take on an additional role as interim chief revenue officer. I preach to anyone that will listen, to get outside of their workplace. Join industry and trade associations that support your craft and network, network, network.