Today is International Women’s Day, and I had the pleasure of being on an executive panel hosted by Microsoft partner Avanade. We had a robust and thought-provoking discussion around “Defining Success Your Way,” and I'd like to share some key insights that can benefit both men and women.
Success is defined differently by everyone, but personal and professional success is often intermingled, and includes balance, making a positive difference, and stretching yourself to move forward.
Hurdles will always come up. The key is in how you handle them and how fast you recover. Successfully overcoming hurdles is a combination of pushing yourself to take risks, having a team of people around you for support, and asking for what you need to succeed.
The panel's advice was thoughtful and abundant, but here are my top five takeaways:
Know yourself. Find and pursue jobs that match your strengths and interests. When you wake up and feel inspired, you’re on the right path.
Define yourself by who you are, not what you do or your title – how you lead, treat others, and support your team and friends.
Do your next job now. Don’t wait to perfect your job to go out and look for another one. Consider your next move, and volunteer to do things that give you the experience you’ll need.
Don’t let fear motivate you. Failures will come and go. If you only focus on what could go wrong, you may miss all the things going right.
Be open to serendipity. You don’t know what will happen tomorrow or in the long term. Keep your options open, and realize serendipity plays a larger role than you think, especially when you don’t focus on a single outcome.
My fellow panelists are all industry peers, and I value their insights and inspiration: Meg Lloyd, vice president of development at Oracle; Magali Muratore, vice president of global technology services and strategy at Starbucks; and Liz Tinkham, managing director at Accenture. Additionally, Stella Goulet, chief marketing officer at Avanade, did a great job leading the panel, and Eddie Pate, Avanade’s vice president of diversity and inclusion, organized this fun and thought-provoking event.
Microsoft is committed to helping women succeed worldwide, and we’re proud of our partnership with UN Women, which includes helping them launch the song and music video “One Woman." You can learn more about this exciting project – as well as the many ways Microsoft is empowering women – from Orlando Ayala, Microsoft's chairman of emerging markets.
Finally, I’d like to close with a quote from poet Maya Angelou that nicely sums up the day: “How important it is for us to recognize and celebrate our heroes and she-roes!”