Professional Work Advice From Successful Women

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31 July 2023

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Embarking on a career journey can be an exhilarating yet challenging endeavour. However, as we have traditionally been significantly disadvantaged in the workplace and still experience pay disparity, it can be even more difficult to navigate our way through a competitive and ever-evolving professional landscape.

The highway to success, more than often not, involves a mentor. However, it’s particularly hard for women to find like-minded mentors (especially other females in the workplace) that we feel we align with and can relate to. Illana Raia, the founder of the membership platform called Etre has been committed to building a woman-friendly future, has written a book called “The Epic Mentor Guide: Insider Advice For Girls Eyeing The Workforce from 180 Boss Women Who Know”. The Epic Mentor Guide aims to match questions from various women with answers from 180 incredibly successful women who are already excelling. It’s like having your own personal mentor with the most frequently asked questions that you can imagine. 

This book is compelling because it provides insights and wisdom from women who truly are successful. From sports prodigies (I’m talking Nancy Lieberman: former professional basketball player and coach in the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) who is currently a broadcaster for the Oklahoma City Thunder of the National Basketball Association (NBA) as well as the head coach of Power, a team in the BIG3 which she led to its 2018 Championship), to makeup mogul Bobbi Brown, Ashley Lynn Priore, the founder of Queen’s Gambit as well as world famous women such as Tyra Banks. With a wealth of knowledge from 180 “boss” women, The Epic Mentor Guide is inspiring to say the least.

Although there is a wealth of knowledge in the book, there are three key takeaways that really resonated with me. 

You Don’t Need To Have The “Perfect” Resume To Apply For A Job

A quote from Christy Pambianchi who was the Chief People Officer and Executive Vice President at Intel, stated that “What I look for in a candidate is not the unblemished resume where everything on paper shows a linear path forward. Life is most definitely not linear, and we learn our most potent lessons when trying to navigate uneven terrain or feeling around in the dark to turn on light”. The gist of this message is that you should embrace uncertainty, and not be afraid to show that you’ve overcome different things. She noted that it is important to show how you may pivot over time to show how you rise to each and every occasion.

Resilience Comes From Within, But Also Your Surroundings

Host of Hoda and Jenna, Hoda Kotb (with a networth of around $30M) has faced obstacles in her life. People have even wanted her to change the spelling of her name due to it being an ethnic name. Hoda’s advice was that “the key to being successful in the workplace is to surround yourself only with positive people. I love the quote “you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” This is true in the workplace too, so choose wisely. Don’t hang around the gossips, or the negative people, but find the people who are kind. And do not listen to anyone who says that as women we cannot be both nice and successful. It’s not true. You can be deeply kind and wildly successful. The other important factor is to never quit. Although it sounds basic, there is an open road ahead… If you just hang in there, you will find your long runway awaits.” I’ve genuinely found that you do pick up the traits of the people that you are closest with, so you can drastically notice changes in your physical and mental well-being based on who you choose to spend your time with. Hoda delves into this concept by noting that toxic coworkers can make you hate a job, which can make you want to give up. If that means setting boundaries, then so be it. 

Be Curious

Many women have honed in on the need to “be curious” and embrace a pivot. Linking into quote one above, life isn’t always linear. This is particularly true in a post-pandemic era, as many of us may be changing the way we do things. 

Many women talked about finding another route if you are told “no.” In particular, Bobbi Brown was rejected by pretty much everybody she approached and got to a point where she would quite literally elevator pitch to anybody she could (even pitching at parks or parties). She’s now a self-made millionaire, so clearly, it worked! 

Dawn Porter was a lawyer, who stopped practising to make films with Oprah. She noted that you need to be willing to ask yourself “what if” and be curious enough to try to reach it. Another lawyer who left the law was Vallery Lomas, who decided to become a baker (and is now an award winning baker with many cook books) who touched on being curious enough to embrace the pivot when it presented itself. This was a sentiment shared by MD-turned-astronaut Anna Fisher and military pilot-turned-MD Cholene Espinoza. As you can see, we can do anything we set our minds to, so it’s important to embrace the chaos at times and not be afraid of where it may take us.

“The Epic Mentor Guide: Insider Advice for Girls Eyeing the Workforce from 180 Boss Women Who Know” is a must-read for anyone seeking guidance and reassurance about their significance in a specific role. By addressing critical topics such as diversity, inclusion, raising hands, speaking up, and standing out, this book offers invaluable insights to girls worldwide. With its empowering wisdom and firsthand accounts, The Epic Mentor Guide serves as an early inside track to navigating the complexities of the work world. So, if you find yourself grappling with questions or uncertainties, we highly recommend picking up this transformative guide and embarking on a journey towards unlocking your full potential.

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