Recently, I was contacted by a frontline staff member and new mom who asked for a moment of my time. She was interested in hearing more about my career journey and any tips I had to help her excel in her career. She voiced how important it was for her to be a good role model to her daughter.
When we met, I thanked her for reaching out (which she admitted took a bit of courage). I shared that back in my twenties, I found myself similarly curious about the career path of others in leadership roles and did the same thing. I, too, was a little hesitant and am so grateful to that senior leader who gave me her time. Back then, what surprised me most was how “human” she was as someone in such a high position. She shared her career journey which was not as “easy” as I had assumed it would be. It was validating to hear that she, too, experienced disappointments and failures. I was impressed by how she embraced these experiences, learned from them, and continued to keep a positive attitude.
There are many articles and books written about the disparities between men and women when it comes to our professional lives. Women are often cited as making less money, getting passed over for promotions, and failing to assert ourselves for fear of being misunderstood. While this may seem daunting as a woman in the workforce, there isn’t a guaranteed path to career advancement and putting in the effort will pay off in one way or another – whether that’s professionally or in personal growth and fulfillment. Here are some steps I’ve learned over the years to help you take control of your future:
- Get Involved: Contribute as much as you can in your current role. Join committees, participate in workgroups, take on additional assignments—let your supervisor know of your desire to grow and advance.
- Get Connected: Expand your network by volunteering in the community, joining a civic group, or check out the various professional societies in your area. It’s not only a great resume builder, but it will introduce you to others who share your interests.
- Get Educated: While you may decide to enroll in school, you can also expand your knowledge by reading leadership books, articles, and magazines. Simon Sinek and John Maxwell are two of my favorite authors. There are many resources available for free online.
- Get Motivated: Reach out to others who have achieved what you are looking to accomplish. Find out their story and learn from their experiences. You may consider hiring an executive coach who can work 1:1 with you to build your leadership skills. I’ve been using one for the past 10 years and have found it very rewarding.
If you take anything from this article, I hope it’s that you feel empowered. If you want more from your career, take charge and make it happen. And remember, you don’t have to do it alone. You will find there are many people in leadership roles who have had similar experiences and wish to “pay it forward.” As fellow human beings, we have a desire to help people, share what we’ve learned along the way, and give what we can of ourselves. Life is short, get out there and leave your mark!
This blog article was contributed by Bobbi Kochevar, Chief Operating Officer for Nexus Family Healing.
Nexus Family Healing is a national nonprofit mental health organization that restores hope for thousands of children and families who come to us for outpatient/community mental health services, foster care and adoption, and residential treatment. For over 45 years, our network of agencies has used innovative, personalized approaches to heal trauma, break cycles of harm, and reshape futures. We believe every child is worth it — and every family matters. Learn more at nexusfamilyhealing.org.