On 22nd November, the Women of the MBA Group and their guests came together to explore the importance of mentoring and how both mentoring and networking can be crucial to career development. The group were delighted to welcome speakers Irial O’ Farrell, Evolution Consulting & Mary Cronin, Thousand Seeds.
We heard how mentoring is a two way relationship, and that we all need someone to inspire us to do better than what we know. An interesting statistic shared at the event from a WXN survey was that 91% consider mentoring critical to career advancement. Irial advised us on the benefits of having a sponsor that is not our line manager. We should develop relationships with people outside of our own function or department, who will promote and recommend us and introduce us to their network. Hearing stories from Irial and Mary on how mentors have helped them get where they are today left us in no doubt of the importance of mentors and sponsors. Attendees, both male and female included current students, recent graduates and more experienced graduates of the MBA programme. Those of us in more senior positions were reminded by Kevin Spacey that “if you are lucky enough to do well, it’s your responsibility to send the elevator back down!”
The focused networking session had us at different times interacting with one another, sketching like Van Gogh and sipping on wine by the roaring fire! We were reminded to attend networking events with a plan and a goal, even when sometimes that goal may not be clear. If you don’t know what you are looking for it is harder to find! And during those awkward initial conversations, be interested before you are interesting!
We were left with the final words from Mary; “It is not the mountain we need to conquer, but ourselves”. In today’s world with all the noise and potential burnout, we need to decouple the chaos, challenge our self-limiting beliefs and trust ourselves. We can make the most of ourselves by believing in those tiny inner sparks of possibility and turning them into flames of achievement.
‘Be the CEO of your own career’! These were the inspiring words of Zelia Madigan, MD of Ericsson Ireland at a WXN Breakfast Meeting on November 21st (Women’s Executive Network). Although this was a female event, her sage words of advice equally apply to us all.
Zelia’s Top Five Tips on How to Succeed in your Career
Take Risks – Sometimes we all need to get out of the comfort zone and push ourselves forward. Zelia gave the example of applying for jobs she knew she wouldn’t get, so she’d be seen by the interview panel, meet people she didn’t know and get them talking about her. As Zelia described it, ‘There are several trains leaving the station and you will get on the right one eventually’. Taking on any new job can be a risk and this is why many people choose to stay in roles that they’ve outgrown. However, if the time is right to move on, don’t be afraid to take the risk. If you don’t try it, you will never know! We must learn to adapt to new environments and be confident in ourselves. Treat each obstacle as a challenge to be overcome.
Network – Get Noticed! To get ahead it is vital to be seen, raise your profile and promote yourself (internally & externally). You might be great at your job and be very task focused, but you need to get noticed! Networking is key and we should all make time for it. Have courage and don’t be afraid to talk to people at events – don’t wait for people to come to you. Even if you think someone is too important to talk to, the chances are that other feels the same! That person will probably be happy to have someone to talk to! Cultivate your network and seek out sponsors/mentors as they can help to push you forward and act as advocates on your behalf. They can also connect you to other people and get people talking about you. Zelia said that her cultivation of sponsors has been instrumental to her career.
Know Your Self – to be at your best. Find out what you are good at and do that! People excel in what they have a natural tendency towards.
Actively seek feedback and work on it. Zelia said that this was one of the secrets to her success. If she was turned down for a job, she would seek out why and ask what she could do to succeed next time. Spend time working on your areas for development. Embrace the 360 degree review!
Be the CEO of your career – only you can make it happen! Imagine where you want to be in 1 year, 5 years, 10 years and act on it.
Life is short, so make the most of the time that you have!
Ireland’s Most Powerful Women: Top 25 Awards Gala 2014, was held on Thursday 19th June at the Four Seasons Hotel Dublin. This is the third year for these awards presented by the Women’s Executive Network with which UCD Smurfit has strong links. Keynote speakers were Ramona Nicolas and Emily O’Reilly both award winners. A list of recipients is available at https://www.wxnetwork.com/ga/top-100/irelands-most-powerful-women-top-25-winners/.
Orla Nugent, MBA Director hosted a table of attendees from Smurfit including Dr. Maeve Houlihan, Prof. Susi Geiger, Ashley Hughes from the academic side of the house and Nadia Clarkin the Schools invaluable Student Advisor, Dee Murphy & Cathy Savage from Smurfit Careers, Tara Collins from Alumni and Eadine Hickey one of our executive coaches.
The Smurfit MBA Office in collaboration with the Women’s Executive Network (WXN) have this week launched WXNs first Mentoring Programme in Ireland which is based on the successful mentoring programme launched in Canada in 2007.
Orla Nugent, MBA Director and Brian Marrian, MBA Careers Manager and Eadine Hickey delivered the first of 3 seminars to a group of WXN Mentees the focus of which was professional and personal growth. Paired with these education classroom sessions, mentees are matched with a mentor from WXN’s community of Ireland’s Most Powerful Women: Top 25 Award Winners. This opportunity provides mentees with the support to progress professionally; learn the insights into their journey; and, ask the questions that are important to you. You will learn directly from women who are at the top of their fields about the steps they took, the challenges they faced and exactly how they got to where they are now. Feedback from the mentees on the first session was very positive and it was judge a success, the second seminar is scheduled in September.