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WTS-Boston Wine Tasting and Professional Development Event: Positioning Yourself for Career Advancement

November 23, 2014 07:26 PM

By Haley Peckett, Volpe Center

The WTS-Boston Professional Development Committee hosted the annual WTS Wine Tasting & Networking event on Thursday, October 30, 2014 at Petit Robert Bistro Central in downtown Boston. The theme for the evening was, “Positioning Yourself for Career Advancement,” and transportation leaders Rachel Winkeller, the Volpe Center; Amy Corbett, Federal Aviation Administration Regional Administrator; and Karen Arpino-Shaffer, Gilbane, Inc., shared personal success stories and career development insights to WTS members and guests. 

The event opened with informal networking, followed by a brief introduction by Professional Development Committee Board Liaison Irene Shea. A professional sommelier provided an overview of three wine options, and the roughly 80 participants could sample the vintages at their leisure throughout the evening. The panel of speakers addressed three topics related to career advancement: balancing career and family life, self-promotion, and carving your own path.

On the topic of work/life balance, Ms. Arpino-Shaffer emphasized the importance of finding a company and bosses that shared her values. She said, “If you are great at your job, you’ll be successful at any company.” Ms. Corbett noted that flexible work schedules and telework can be valuable for working moms and stressed the importance of managing expectations by communicating with colleagues, spouses, and children. Ms. Winkeller observes that women will always experience a “see-saw” between work and family life, and that success may come with accepting that variability.

With regard to finding opportunities for promotion, Ms. Corbett discussed the value of asking for advice and sharing career goals with a mentor. She advised participants to “show up great,” meaning to always bring one’s best to every job so that colleagues, managers, and mentors are more likely to offer promotions. Ms. Winkeller called for women to advocate for themselves. She also encouraged women to get involved at all levels of their organizations to increase their own visibility and knowledge. Finally, Ms. Arpino-Shaffer recommended participants identify “someone who will be your promoter, even when you are not in the room.”

When it comes to carving your own path, all three panelists encouraged taking risks and acknowledged that careers seldom follow a linear path. Ms. Corbett and Ms. Arpino-Shaffer shared their own stories about “side trips” that led to career discovery. Ms. Winkeller noted that accepting failures leads to greater resiliency, which she believes is a valuable career asset.

After a brief question-and-answer session with the panelists, attendees enjoyed food, wine, and conversation. The event was made possible by Professional Development Committee Co-Chairs Carrie Lavallee, MassDOT, and Beth Musacchio, Parsons Brinckerhoff; and Professional Development Committee Members Jackie Carver, Howard/Stein-Hudson; Angela DeFrancesco, GPI; Erin Pacileo, McMahon Associates; Haley Peckett, Volpe Center; Michael Pelletier, Geocomp Corporation; and David Whall, Geocomp Corporation. Thanks also to Professional Development Committee Board Liaison Irene Shea, MBTA, and our event photographer Booker T. Crawford.

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