C-Suite Panel Event Recap: How to Create a Competitive Skill Set to Maintain a Professional Edge
Written By: Keren Unrad
How do women at different stages of their careers create competitive skill sets to maintain a professional edge? This was the topic explored at the C-Suite event on April 25, hosted by Hulu. Panelists included Susan Canavari, Asset & Wealth Management Global Head of Brand Experience Development at JP Morgan Chase; Angela Johnson, U.S. Head of Account Management at Dentsu New York; and Jacqueline Quantrell, Chief Revenue Officer at Triple Lift. The panel was moderated by Eddie Koller, Managing Partner at Koller Search Partners.
Does being competitive today mean growing “cast iron ovaries” as Angela Johnson was once told by a male manager or does it simply mean “being comfortable in your own skin” as Jacqueline Quantrell advised? Well, turns out it’s both. In today’s business world, women must be confident enough to be creative risk-takers, tough negotiators, and expert delegators in order to succeed.
That may sound daunting to some, but these three leaders gave so many great pieces of advice that it all seems doable.
- You don’t have to be everything to everyone. Know what you do best and excel at it. Everything else should be delegated to others so they can excel at what they do best.
- In order to stay your best, always be curious and ready to learn new things. You don’t necessarily need an MBA, but you do need to read industry trades to stay on top of current trends and take classes to keep your skills up-to-date.
- When you’re just starting out in your career or learning a new skill, as Angela Johnson said, “move from competent to confident” as quickly as possible.
- The early stages of your career are the best times to take a risk and, as Susan Canavari says, “run towards the fire”. Become a problem-solver and take on the difficult projects that no one else wants to handle because those are the best opportunities to shine.
- As a manager or more senior-level executive, get more adept at reading people to understand what motivates them. Not only will this help you manage your subordinates, but it will also help you navigate difficult situations and negotiations with your boss and your peers.
6. There’s no such thing as having it all. Women think that they need to be able to balance executive-level careers, families and personal lives, but most women can’t do it all at once, and if they do, they have lots of help. Some weeks (or years) are more balanced than others, but you need to decide what is a priority for you right now and focus on that.
- Finally, probably the most important take away, be tenacious and fight for yourself. Once you’ve done that and you know yourself well, then you can fight for your team and your peers.
The best way to make it to the C-Suite? Advocate for yourself and, if possible, find a sponsor within your company early on in your career who will do it for you. As Lynn Branigan eloquently said, “70% of the decisions that are made about your career take place while you are not in the room.” So, make sure the people making those decisions have nothing but good things to say about you.