Signature Leaders Blog
Reminders to Inspire

What Does It Mean to be a Strong Woman?

Posted by Carol Seymour on Nov 24, 2020 10:00:00 AM


I came across an old magazine article over the weekend. You may not remember her name, but you likely remember seeing photos of the young female surfer competing without an arm. Bethany Hamilton was 13 when she lost her arm in a shark attack while surfing in Kauai. After losing 2/3 of her blood, her future was uncertain. Yet 24 days after the attack, Bethany was back on a surfboard. Two years later, she was a national champion.

Bethany’s mindset – her ability to focus on what she could do and what was possible instead of the obstacles and challenges – kept her moving forward. I was struck by the words Bethany gave the interviewer: “My passion for surfing outweighed my fear of sharks. I dreamed of surfing competitively and the loss of my arm didn’t stop that dream.”*

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Topics: Sponsorship, Women in Business, Intentional Mindset

“E” is for: Enlighten your Sponsor with new intelligence he/she may not have access to

Posted by Carol Seymour on Aug 2, 2018 10:00:00 AM

At this point in 2018, you have probably heard the term “reverse mentoring.” It is where less experienced professionals mentor their own leaders. Cox Communications, located here in Atlanta, GA, is doing this using the Wisdom Warriors book to facilitate discussions. Many other companies are employing this relatively new concept to get the most out of their workforce and give their leaders access to the skills and knowledge available in its up-and-comers. Reverse mentoring allows companies to bring new perspectives into leadership conversations and make it a safe space to give and receive information.

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Topics: Sponsorship, Managing Your Career

“N” is for: “Nurture new relationships – never hang your hat on just one sponsor”

Posted by Carol Seymour on Jul 11, 2018 10:00:00 AM

“I had a wonderful sponsor in my company who was two levels above me, until she decided to take a position in another organization. Suddenly, I was left without an advocate at my company.”

-Susan Beat, Senior Vice President at Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Research shows that individuals who are most satisfied with their rate of advancement are individuals with sponsors. It’s great to have a sponsor. But it’s even better to have more than one. As Susan found out, there is a risk in hooking your star to just one person in upper management. When that person moves on from your organization, you can be left without a sponsor to advocate on your behalf.

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Topics: Sponsorship, Managing Your Career, Relationships

“I” is for: Internalize feedback and take action

Posted by Carol Seymour on Jun 27, 2018 1:22:05 PM

We know that feedback helps us learn and improve. We know that frequent feedback leads to better performance. So why do we shy away from asking for feedback?

Early in my career, I waited for my annual performance review to get feedback. I was nervous, and if I heard, “You are doing great,” I would smile, sigh with relief, and move the conversation to other topics. Receiving feedback can be uncomfortable, but it is invaluable for your career development. If you don’t take the opportunity to ask real, probing questions, you might not get the feedback you need until it is too late.

Most companies do not have a culture of providing regular or unsolicited feedback, so you have to be proactive. Establish a regular cadence of asking for input. Your manager, your peers, your direct reports, and especially your sponsor, who is invested in your success, can be great sources of feedback – if you know how to ask.

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Topics: Sponsorship, Managing Your Career

“H” is for: Help your sponsor articulate your value - know your unique gifts and strengths

Posted by Carol Seymour on Jun 20, 2018 10:00:00 AM

“You are responsible for driving your own career.” It’s a refrain we have all heard before, and it may seem obvious, so why do so many people struggle to do this effectively? Often, it is because we don’t know where we want to go. We can’t picture a career path because we can’t picture the destination. What if I told you that you don’t need to know where you want to go?

Your mentors, coaches, and most of all, your sponsors can help you pick a destination.

You just need to be able to articulate your value – your unique gifts – that will help you on the journey. If you can’t describe your own value, how can you expect anyone else to promote you?

In this blog on how to SHINE and earn a sponsor, we emphasize the importance of identifying your unique gifts, articulating them to potential sponsors, and utilizing your sponsors’ broader knowledge of the business to pick the best opportunities for you and your career.

 

What are you passionate about?

To find out, start with this simple exercise. On a piece of paper, create a left column and a right column. Each evening, on the left side, record your highest energy moment of the day; the point where you felt like you were “on fire.” On the right side, put down the moment that drained your energy; when you felt like you were “off.”

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Topics: Personal Brand, Sponsorship, Managing Your Career, Advocating for Yourself

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