Whether you’re graduating college or gearing up for your first fiscal year-end performance conversation, the summer months represent for many young and aspiring professionals a time to reflect and reset around professional goals met and professional goals still to be accomplished.
With this in mind, curated below are some salient insights and takeaways from the business leaders and major industry players profiled in the “Power of Networks,” along three key areas tied to professional growth – Balancing Instinct, Passion and Ambition; Marketing Your Value; and Risk, Failure and Continuous Learning – all to help you use this summer to accelerate your career success.
Balancing Instinct, Passion and Ambition
“Trust your instinct – but listen.” – Kathryn Finney, Founder of digitalundivided
“There are so many different ways to be successful, and the most important way to do so is by activating [your] own talents and abilities.” – Alison Byerly, President of Lafayette College
“Particular for founders of color, there can be this tendency to question opportunity, a skepticism about the motivations behind signs of support, which is understandable given how underrepresented we are in the field. But sometimes it can put a possible win at risk.” – Kathryn Finney, Founder of digitalundivided
Marketing Your Value
“Too often, women run the risk of doubting themselves when mulling over a big career or professional decision – that imposter syndrome kicks in. It happened to me when I was deciding whether to take on the Apollo as CEO. So, I encourage young women to have the self-confidence to pursue new challenges and not be afraid to make a mistake.” – Jonelle Procope, President and CEO of the Apollo Theater
“There’s no context in which being better at understanding yourself and the world around you is not an advantage, and it seems to me the need for people who can do that is only going to increase.” – Alison Byerly, President of Lafayette College
“When I hire people, I’m always most impressed when a person can talk me through where they’ve been and where they can go as evidenced by the progression of their work. It’s not just a github with projects you’ve done, but a commit log that tracks when you coded, when you tinkered, when you refactored or changed things. If you’re a designer or a creative person, it’s showing the evolution from the sketching and the mockups to the finished products and iterations. This living portfolio is so vital for professionals of color because it can help silence assumptions on potential fueled by implicit and explicit racial bias.” – Jeff Nelson, Cofounder of Blavity
Risk, Failure and Continuous Learning
“People make mistakes every day. And mistakes aren’t bad if you pivot quickly once you make them. I don’t want someone who’s perfect, because I don’t know if that person has a tolerance for failure and an ability to adapt.” – Jeff Nelson, Cofounder of Blavity
“Sometimes founders are the only ones who can truly see the vision of a business, so don’t get discouraged if it feels like you’re the only one who does at times. But it’s important to listen, too. If you’re building a consumer product and no consumer seems to get the concept, then you should probably let it go – the market speaks. It’s important to let things go at the startup phase so you can figure out where you’re an A-student.” – Kathryn Finney, Founder of digitalundivided
“They aren’t challenges as much as moments that simply need to be recast.” – Alison Byerly, President of Lafayette College