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WTS TED Talk Event: “The Career Advice You Probably Didn’t Get”

Photo Caption: WTS-Boston members at the conclusion of the TED Talk event on July 10th.

By: Kristen Whitman, Jacobs

On July 10th, 20 attendees gathered at HDR’s office in Boston for a TED Talk viewing and discussion facilitated by Loretta Girard Doughty, P.E., Transportation Program Manager for the New England Region at HDR. The WTS-Boston Mentoring Committee organized the event and selected the TED Talk “The Career Advice You Probably Didn’t Get” by Susan Colantuono, CEO and founder of Leading Women.

In her talk, Susan asked why the percentage of women at the top of organizations is so much lower than the percentage of women in middle management and professional positions. She gave examples of women who were doing everything right at work, receiving excellent performance reviews, and just not moving up. In order to move up, she said, you have to be known for your leadership skills, use your abilities to help the organization achieve its strategic financial goals, and do that by working effectively with others. However, that business, strategic, and financial acumen is the missing part of the career advancement advice given to women. Susan encouraged women to focus on developing those skills, and for women and men who are in management positions to make sure those skills are emphasized to create a level playing field and diverse talent pool.

Following the talk, Loretta Girard Doughty asked each attendee to share their background and experience level (eight people with < 10 years, ten with 10-19 years, and a couple > 20 years) before leading a discussion on the different types of career advice people wanted, received, and provided. The group as a whole was not quite sure if they strongly agreed with the conclusions in the TED talk, but rather thought that relationships, personality, emotional intelligence, and the whole package were needed in order to advance. We discussed the concept of reverse mentoring, the different regimented training programs required by some companies, and the other resources and mentoring programs offered by ACEC and WTS. The mentoring co-chairs encouraged all to take advantage of upcoming programs including the Emerging Professionals Program, the Mid-Career Roundtable, and the Formal Mentoring Program.

Acknowledgements: Mentoring Committee Co-Chairs Teryne Alexander, Massport, and Kristen Whitman, Jacobs; Gina Solman, U.S. DOT/Volpe Center; and Loretta Girard Doughty, HDR.




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