6 career tips from 3 successful women

by K B , updated on May 28, 2010

My new financial year resolution is to practice what I preach and to get out to at least one networking event a week. This week I went along to Network Central’s forum on women and careers featuring a panel of three successful women: CareerOne’s online editor, Kate Southam, Regina Fikkers, a partner at PWC and journalist and author Catherine Fox.

Networking is hard. Nobody likes fronting up to a room full of people you don’t know and introducing yourself. But I was lucky enough to find myself in the hands of the lovely Hacy Tobias from Arbonne International. I think she may have sold me her skin care range just by being charming and interested in me, but that’s a whole other networking story!

If you don’t network, give it a go. You’ll lose nothing. The worst thing you can take away from a networking event is some new knowledge. I did so much better than that and picked up these pearls from the panel for women making their way through what still is a hard core male dominated corporate world.

–          Be yourself. Yes it’s a cliché, but it’s true. There is no point being anyone else. If you’re in a blokey environment, you’ll lose yourself if you try to be a bigger bloke than the blokes.  If drinks at the pub don’t do it for you, don’t do it. But do find different ways to connect.

–          Learn that it is OK to understand the politics of an organization.  Many women are scared of this. But politics is simply a way of understanding who really makes the decisions and the way those decisions are made.

–          You will be surprised about who is a stakeholder in your career. Regina told the tale of when she was pregnant with twins and was negotiating a major deal while suffering morning sickness. The only person who knew was the PA who quietly held the door open every time she needed to throw up. The PA knew she was pregnant but kept it to herself and gave Regina a lot of support through an incredibly stressful time.

–          Everybody expresses emotion at work. Don’t buy it if it is implied that you are too emotional as a female. Some of the most emotional people are men. An angry man is an emotional man.

–          All three women had times where they wanted to just give up and felt it was all too much. Don’t give up. That’s just par for the course.

–          You will be your own worst critic. Even when things were going perfectly Catherine says she always found something to worry about.  The important part of this is that she was aware that it is part of her make up.

–          If you are not having children, then it is important to support women who do. Any concessions to work life balance your female counterparts may win, is a win for you, and a win for everyone as at some point in our lives we will all need flexibility.

Catherine Fox made the point that Australian women lack a lot of confidence.  All three women spoke about supporting other women and how important that is. On that note I’d like to publicly thank Kate Southam . She has given me plenty of breaks in my career and was kind enough to give me a shout out at the event.


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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Heather Ackland August 28, 2012 at 5:00 am

Good suggestions

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