I currently serve as the Talent Development Pillar lead for our company’s Black Colleague Resource group in the DFW area. The goal of the talent development pillar is to bring insightful and timely events to prepare colleagues for corporate mobility and advancement.
Our Chief Diversity Officer graciously came to the Dallas-Fort Worth Area to lead the organized professional development sessions on 9/18/13 regarding the following topics:
-The Value of Networking
-Setting Career Goals
-Establishing and Maintaining Effective Mentor to Mentee Relationships
Here is the excellent recap that our Corporate Communications team provided below:
CVS Caremark’s Chief Diversity Officer says he’s just as uncomfortable as the rest of us when it comes to networking. But with 2,100-plus LinkedIn contacts under his belt, VP David Casey has a few things to say about it.
David recently shared tips with colleagues in Irving and Richardson, TX, on professional connections, mentor and sponsor relationships and setting career goals. His presentation was the first professional development event of the Black Colleague Resource Group.
“You may say ‘why even bother with networking?’” David says. “But it’s just as important today as it has ever been.” It used to be easy to develop professional relationships in the workplace, but with large organizations and virtual teams, you often don’t get face-to-face interaction.”
It’s up to you to create those opportunities, David says. If you’re not comfortable “working the room” at a social event, then reach out one-on-one through a request for an informal meeting or lunch, for instance. But, make sure you know why you asked the person to be there.
“Corporate America isn’t heartless or soul-less; people just don’t have the time,” David notes. “But if you don’t tell your story, nobody else is going to tell it for you.” He advises to identify your knowledge and skill gaps and hone in on the people who can help you fill them. At the same time, determine what you can offer your contact because “everyone has something to contribute.”
About Social Media
Above all else, David says to keep up with your career connections and your profile. He personally prefers LinkedIn for professional networking rather than Facebook or other social media. He also advises that whatever you – or someone else – posts about you on social media is representing your and, as an employee, the company’s brand. “Be thoughtful in how you manage your image,” he adds.
Career Goals, Mentoring and Sponsoring
When setting career goals, David advises to begin with the end in mind. At minimum, set a five-year milestone, even if it changes. Determine what is important to you to achieve – a certain salary, house, retirement place or legacy of making a difference. “It’s not just ‘what do I want to do between now and next year,’ but beyond that,” David says. And, quoting the late author Stephen R. Covey, “don’t spend your whole career climbing the ladder, only to find out it’s leaning against the wrong wall.”
David explained the difference between a mentor and a sponsor. Mentoring at its base is information-sharing, while sponsoring involves actually advocating on someone’s behalf. A sponsor will have access to the power you need to get to the next level. But, you must do a self-analysis first on what your objectives are and what you need. Make sure you’ve “earned the right” to ask someone to take up your cause.
Photo Credit: Image One