Categories / Women

The Best Piece of Career Advice Ever – #SheSaysSG

#SheSays is a network to help women further their careers in digital, communications and media, and I’ve been attending their talks for a while now. There were many interesting takeaways from their latest talk titled “The Best Piece of Career Advice Ever” at co-working space JustCo, with the following panel speakers:

  • Claire Waring (CW): ECD Sapient Nitro
  • Shamini Nair (SN): Digital Director McDonalds
  • Miranda Dimopoulos (MD): IAB CEO
  • Aaron Boekestein (AB): Agency Business Lead Google

I’ve summarised some of the points they raised into the following key learnings; speaker source is denoted by their initials.


1) Be agile on your plans

  • CW: “Be prepared to change tack to get to the best parties”. Make big plans and be prepared to break them and to shift them around. Know when to stick to your guns or to change directions, especially working in an environment where it requires testing and reiterating. Be open to companies or industries that you may not have previously considered.
  • SN: Almost everything we do now is about test and learn; and we have the datasets, learning, feedback in order to make those decisions. There is a pivotal/persevere point – do we persevere or pivot? You have to love and believe your data, but also trust your judgement.

2) Don’t stop learning

  • SN: Gail Kelly (former CEO of WestPac) as her idol. Treat learning like a lifelong journey and don’t ever think you will be done with learning. Stop thinking about things through your own hat/lens, and start learning about other aspects of the other business and think from those lenses. Think about who you were yesterday and who you can be tomorrow.

3) Mentoring is important

  • SN: Develop a mentor-mentee relationship and “lift as you climb”. Who you are your selecting as your mentee is equally important as who you select to mentor you.

4) Bring people along on the journey

  • CW: You will get flak for some of your ideas/views, but the way you approach defending your work is important. Keep a degree of professionalism, calm, intellect, clarity. Think rationally about the argument for your ideas.
  • SN: It is equally important to bring along others to see things from your point of view.

5) Be the barometer of your own success

  • AB: We tend to want to move quickly and get success, but you should compare and identify your success with yourself (instead of others). Sometimes success is equated to something really exact/specific and we are not agile – think about a five-month plan instead of a five-year plan. Success should equal happiness. Go for the stuff that really matters, instead of short-lived goals.

6) Do not listen to other people’s advice

  • MD: Be an outlier. Don’t listen to other people’s advice. Don’t be a dick.

The talk did go off on a tangent into other areas including branding and CSR which were pretty interesting. I’d probably love to hear more discussion about these topics in future sessions.


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