Welcome back to #PassItOn, a series featuring the best career advice and insight from women of the Futures Network, an alumni group for Wacl Future Leaders Award winners. In this instalment, we hear from Gini Sharvill, global marketing manager at Häagen-Dazs, who talks about how to visualise your future and know your worth.
Do you remember your first ever time?
Your first mentoring session that is.
It was two and a half years ago, courtesy of the Futures Mentorship programme, which paired me with Claire Harrison-Church, a stalwart on the UK FMCG marketing scene and a member of Wacl.
I remember feeling nervous, not knowing what I should “do” as a mentee. What should I ask? How should I behave? What was “expected” of me? I was seven years and three companies into my career and simultaneously both clueless and fixated on the notion of “career planning”. I am a planner (by nature, not by employment) and was desperate for wisdom on how to map out my future. My notes from the session are testament to that: “Ask Claire about her five-year plan!!!” is the only phrase, scrawled frantically at the top.
She told me to forget about my five-year plan, though – that there were much better ways to plan for the future than my idea of a fixed, long-term plan. Much better ways to add structure, thought and guidance to career planning.
What I heard next has since become fixed in my mind, with three clear actions to remember:
Visualise your future
If you want to make sure that, at least in the short term, you’re headed in the right direction and setting yourself up for success, then visualise your future and write your “future CV”. Think about your role over one to three years, and write an actual CV or even a LinkedIn summary to make it feel real. Think about what your achievements are, your results and what you have learned. Once you’ve got your bullet points, focus on them. It should only take you 10 minutes or so, and you can revisit it every few months to make sure you’re on track.
What skills can you develop that make yourself interesting in the workplace? Even better, what skills is your employer (current or ideal) interested in which you could learn? This is a great way to create a win-win situation for both you and your company, especially if it requires training and funding. Obviously don’t forget about your day job, and don’t pick something which you aren’t truly interested in yourself. This is especially good if you are curious, and are motivated by learning and self-development (which I would bet, if you’re reading this article, that you are).
Know your worth
As you think about your next steps, run towards a role that excites you. Knowing your personal values, strengths and interests are the single best way to make decisions about your future. Share that with your company too, so they know how to get the best from you. Not only will you be happier at work, it means you’ll always be showing up with your most driven, motivated self to make an impact that you care about. Again: win win for your company and for you.
So my #PassItOn for fellow peers in advertising and marketing is: visualise your future, be interesting and know your worth.
As our brains and memories turn to mush during lockdown, I hope this advice is helpful to you no matter what stage you’re at in your career. And – of course – please remember to #PassItOn.