The following is a guest post by board member Katrina Phillips. Katrina is Vice President of Membership for DC EcoWomen. She has a background in marine science, which she uses in her current position in communications for a science agency to translate scientific concepts into plain language.
DC EcoWomen recently partnered with The Nature Conservancy to host the event View from the Top: Advice on Surviving the Climb. In addition to bringing one of the highest turnouts we’ve had all year, this panel discussion was full of useful tidbits we can all learn from as we navigate our way along career paths that sometimes meander in unexpected directions.
Get to know yourself – what excites you? – Miranda Ballentine, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
It may seem simple, but finding a fulfilling career starts with being honest with yourself. What are you looking for? Though entrepreneurship is often seen as the pinnacle of success, some find more fulfillment in intrapreneurship – using their ideas to bring about innovation within an existing framework. You don’t have to start your own company to make your mark in the world; you can channel your energy to create shifts in companies or corporations that already operate within a system. Which success means more to you?
Take advantage of opportunities – Jen Molnar, The Nature Conservancy
While setting goals is important, the jobs you take along the way may not always be what you had in mind. But each may have something valuable to offer. Many of us, perhaps women in particular, feel the need to be prepared for everything. There is no way to be prepared for everything. You can figure things out as you go. Maybe that job posting that caught your eye is a little out of your area of expertise. Maybe it feels below you. Stretch yourself – you’re sure to learn something.
Find a community of purpose – Julie Rosenberg, EPA
Very few people find their dream job right out of school. So what do you do while you look for it? Use your skills where they’re appreciated. Find an organization or agency with a mission you support, so that at the end of the day you know you’ve contributed to something you believe in. You can make your way through the cracks in the rocks to new opportunities. It may not be the easiest or quickest path, but it can still be rewarding.
Get to know your network – Suzy Mink, The Nature Conservancy
Building and maintaining relationships are essential pieces of building and maintaining a successful career. This goes beyond your “professional references”. Mentors, advisors, classmates, and colleagues create a network unique to you. As you move on to new jobs or cities, be sure to keep up with old relationships in addition to building new ones. Send an email, meet for lunch, connect on social media (attend a DC EcoWomen event!). You never know when who you know will come in handy.