As 2020 draws to a close and we attempt to find this challenging year's silver linings, it's time to reflect on the lessons we've learned. In the workplace, it's been a year of big shifts, stunning losses and changing priorities. It's also been a year of new friendships, increased empathy and enlightening conversations. This year has changed the course of many of our careers altogether.
In Season 7 of Fairygodboss Radio, seven women from across organizations sat down with us to share their career experiences, provide special insight into what the workplace is like for women right now and provide guidance for how we can improve it in 2021 and beyond.
They also shared their best career advice — much of it reflecting on how 2020 has changed how we should approach professionalism. Here's what they had to say:
1. Find what inspires you — and give it room to change.
“Understand what it is that really inspires you. Think about it and then talk about it. How do you apply it? Embrace the fact that your decisions and your work-life integration change over time. Know what’s important to you and make sure you can find ways to do it.” — Kathy Wengel, Executive Vice President & Chief Global Supply Chain Officer at Johnson & Johnson
2. Remember organization is self-care.
“Maintain your self-calm. Take a look at what you have going on tomorrow, the next day, the next week, in the future... In order for you to be able to manage work, your personal life with kids and school, and be able to smile and have fun, you need routines, processes, planning and communication.” — Liz Romero, Small Business Centralized Client Management & Specialty Support Executive at Bank of America
3. Put empathy first.
“We are in really challenging times, and we are experiencing things that are very new to all of us that are challenging us to adapt differently. This is a time to listen for understanding. It is a time to be empathetic to others. It’s a time where we all have to show compassion and compassion through acting and support. And it’s a time in which we need to embrace each other’s identities and the authenticity of people trying to show up to be their true selves.” — Carla Grant-Pickens, Global Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer at IBM
4. Wherever you go, find your people.
“Find your posse, your crew, your squad — whatever you refer to it as. It’s that distinct group of folks that are with you on your journey. It could be a squad you have for your work journey, a squad you have for your parenting journey. But you need a group of people that you can be vulnerable and honest with, in a way that pushes you forward. That’s a huge distinction from just a group of girlfriends. This is a very intentional group of folks looking to push each other and keep the momentum going. Find that, be intentional about that, and get out of your comfort zone to get to that place.” — Stephanie LeBlanc-Godfrey - Global Head of Community Inclusion Programs for Women of Color at Google and Founder of Parenting Backwards
5. Speak up.
“Silence is endorsement. Use your voice. Don’t be afraid to use your voice, speak truth to power, and to view yourself as an agent of change, an innovator, a creator.” — Erika Irish Brown - Chief Diversity Officer, Goldman Sachs
6. Give people room to surprise you.
“Give everyone grace and be empathetic. Build relationships from a place of ‘I want to understand you’ and ‘I want you to understand me,’ and do that on a human-to-human level. Give everyone the benefit of the doubt and be open to people dazzling you in a way that you could never imagine.” — Jen Auerbach-Rodriguez, Managing Director, Head of Strategic Growth Markets at Merrill Lynch Wealth Management
7. Make gratitude your motivation.
“It is a true privilege to live on this earth. Make as much of an impact as you can in this world. It’s not about the applause — it is about making a difference in someone’s life. You’re here not only to live for yourself, but to leave a true imprint.” — Nichole Francis Reynolds, Vice President & Head of Global Government Relations at ServiceNow, Inc.