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Execs answer all at NEW Leadership Academy

Friday, June 7, 2013   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Barbara Francella
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More than 400 Network of Executive Women members received candid career advice from two senior executives when they were able to "Ask an Executive Anything” during the fourth 2013 Leadership Academy webinar on June 6.

NEW Chair Marketing and Communications Lisa Walsh, vice president, PepsiCo Sales for PepsiCo Inc., and Carol Hallquist, president, Hallmark Corporate Foundation at Hallmark Cards Inc., answered questions submitted by NEW members during the one-hour session. Career coach Jo Miller, CEO of Women’s Leadership Coaching, moderated the session.

Walsh and Hallquist shared their experiences as they worked to achieve their professional goals. "There were foundational skills I needed and knowledge- building that I had to do,” Walsh said about her early career. "I became known for having good analytical skills. Find out what you’re really good at and develop a foundation around that.”

Hallquist urged listeners to "quantify whatever you do. You can measure anything, [even] customer satisfaction.

"Your peers get you promoted,” she added. "Having great relationships between peers helps crush barriers for your staff and makes their job easier.”

Getting exposure

Walsh offered strategic advice for marketing a personal brand. "Take on special projects and assignments that give you visibility and exposure.” One of the best ways to maximize visibility, she suggested, is to get in to a "headquarter” role, which allows you to broaden your network.

Her own experience in getting involved with NEW gave Walsh greater exposure, she noted. "I solicited feedback from my company and did certain things to build up credibility and critical experiences to be on the NEW Board.”

In terms of work/life balance, motherhood has not hindered either executive’s career advancement. "You can have it all,” Hallquist said, "but you can’t have it all at the same time. It’s challenging, but it’s growth leadership. Having kids teaches flexibility and negotiation.”

Walsh urged new leaders and moms to lose the unnecessary stress that comes with balancing work and life matters. "There are times when your personal life and work life are going to intersect,” she counseled. "People shouldn’t feel ashamed or embarrassed ― it makes you who you are. Celebrate the intersections when they happen and let people know your authentic self.”

After a promotion has been unsuccessfully sought, Hallquist advocated staying connected and stepping up. "Let them know you’re engaged and can take on more. Then ask why you didn’t get the position. Go the extra mile, take on a project that will give you extra visibility that will show your leader that you are willing to work.”

Hallquist also emphasized the importance of volunteering for key projects and tasks. By volunteering, "you can make mistakes and experiment ― and not impact your career. You’ll also get exposure to different leadership styles. Getting outside and experiencing other kinds of leadership situations is a great way to learn.”

On the subject of "managing upward,” Walsh encouraged NEW members to present insights and innovations that are focused on the bottom line.

"Get your facts straight,” Walsh said. "The best case you can make has data to back it up.”

Innovation is the industry’s lifeblood, but shouldn’t come at the expense of core business, she said. "Innovation and core business must play together to drive core growth.”

Asked about the challenges of leading a company or division, Hallquist urged all leaders to make sure their teams are heard and that they get credit for bringing their expertise to an area.

"Be self aware,” Walsh added. "You often are making an impact when you don’t know it. All the subtleties of great leaders, others emulate.”

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