Wednesday November 8th, saw the WICT Philadelphia’s final event of the year. A panel discussion; My Climb up the Corporate Ladder. Moderated by Melissa Merriman of AWS.
The panel discussion revolved around the diverse career journeys of three incredibly experienced women: Traci Gusher, Principal lead consultant at EY; Loren Hudson SVP & Chief Diversity Officer at Comcast and Jennifer Metz, VP of Product Management at Paramount+. They discussed personal branding, networking strategies, mentorship vs. sponsorship, handling setbacks, and advice for career growth.
Traci highlighted her pivot from starting out teaching to a working in a startup, emphasizing problem-solving, adaptability, and courage in pursuing a new path. Coming from a startup background myself, I resonated deeply with the multifaceted nature of the roles one tackles. It's a world where you dive into a myriad of responsibilities, from handling payroll to rolling up your sleeves and building webpages from scratch!
Loren shared her evolution from HR aspirations to redefining her goals, focusing on understanding and shaping personal branding through feedback and vulnerability. Jennifer discussed her transition from journalism to technology, emphasizing authenticity and curiosity as integral to personal branding.
Traci emphasized continuous learning and empathetic leadership as essential components of her personal brand. She also addressed the importance of understanding imposter syndrome and the significance of deliberate mentorship and sponsorship in career growth.
The discussion covered evolving networks with career progression, leveraging social connections, attending industry events, and using social media like LinkedIn to expand professional networks.
The panel underscored the difference between mentors and sponsors, highlighting the latter's crucial role in advocating for career advancement opportunities. They stressed the need for deliberate goals in mentorship and the organic development of such relationships.
Regarding setbacks, Loren shared her experience of not securing a promotion, emphasizing the importance of actionable feedback to drive improvement. Jennifer reflected on a frozen role and subsequent evaluation of opportunities aligned with her career aspirations, emphasizing the significance of meaningful career choices.
Lastly, the panellists offered advice: Jennifer encouraged using one's voice to advocate for team members; Traci spotlighted the importance of not being afraid to ask for what you want; and Loren stressed the significance of caring for and uplifting peers in the professional journey.
Overall, the panel highlighted the importance of adaptability, authenticity, continuous learning, deliberate networking, and advocating for oneself and others as crucial elements in navigating a successful career path.
It was one of the most empowering panels I've ever had the pleasure of attending, marking a perfect conclusion to a year filled with fantastic WICT Philly events. The night wouldn't be complete without dinner and dancing! I'm sure everyone is eagerly anticipating the schedule for next year's events.