Investing in yourself is the best investment you can make as a leader, but where to start? There is more to professional development than earning another certificate or attending a workshop.
We asked Ita Ekpoudom of GingerBread Capital and Perry Yeatman of Save the Children US to share how they’ve invested in their own development in order to set themselves apart and tackle their Big, Hairy, Audacious Goals (BHAGs) as influential business leaders.
Moderated by Packed with Purpose Founder & CEO Leeatt Rothschild, this conversation was recorded as part of the 2022 “Empowered & Inspired: Conversations in Celebration of Women’s History Month” discussion series.
- Professional development isn’t just on-the-job training– it’s part of your personal development, too. Aligning what you’re passionate about and what you’re good at should help you in determining how to direct and fuel your professional growth. (4:25)
- One of the most valuable personal investments comes in the form of genuine, authentic relationships—not just traditional networking. Find people with which you genuinely connect, and don’t cultivate these relationships based solely on transactions. These connections will provide countless resources, support, and opportunities as you grow in your career. (7:20, then again at 18:58)
- There is no one definition of success, and re-evaluating your own definition of achievement periodically will help you realign the professional and personal goals you are looking to meet. (12:44)
- When you know your worth, build strong relationships, and realize your own potential, success can be knowing when to move on. Says Ita Ekpoudom: “Just as much as when you stay, is when you know when to leave, that it’s time to go. Because sometimes something eventually will run its course and staying too long will diminish your personal growth, your professional growth, and mental wellbeing.” (15:30)
- Mentoring other women in business doesn’t have to be reserved for specialized women’s resource groups. Teaching and supporting junior members of your team, producing content as a resource for other women, and simply introducing other women to valuable networks and connections can go a long way in supporting the next generation of women leaders. (25:25)
Our panelist’s 10-second advice for women’s professional development
“Don’t just think about it, do it. You don’t have to do it in a major way. If it’s investing [in yourself] just do it. We can talk ourselves out of things, but start a baby step of action and you’ll see you’ll be surprised to see where it goes.” – Ita Ekpoudom
“You are the CEO of your life and nobody else is going to do this job the way you do. Your boss can help, others can help, but it is you. So you need to think about the knowledge, skills, experiences —all of the levers that you can pull to get development—and you should target that development towards what you want at that point in your life.” -Perry Yeatman