This article was originally published on Citi’s Women & Co.
In her new book The Board Game: How Smart Women Become Corporate Directors, Betsy Berkhemer-Credaire says, “If you are not seen and not known, you won’t be found.”
While she was referring to securing a seat on a corporate board, her words ring just as true if your goal is a promotion in your current role or transitioning to another line of business or company. And, by extension, so does her advice, which I’ve distilled into these five must-do steps:
1. Perform your job well: a proven track record is table stakes.
2. Build a strategic network of influencers inside and outside your company, such as current and former colleagues and managers, agency partners and vendors, industry thought leaders, executive recruiters, non-profit leaders, and government representatives. Focus on quality, not quantity, and carefully select those organizations and places where you should go to meet people.
3. Raise your visibility through service on a company task force, a business association committee, non-profit board – or all three – so that influencers can see you in action first-hand flexing your leadership, influencing and collaboration skills. This can be critical to moving an influencer in your network from being your advisor to being a proactive, confident advocate that will keep you on her or his radar.
4. Step into the spotlight by seeking out opportunities to speak at internal or external events. It’s not only a great way to meet industry thought leaders, but to establish your professional reputation and credibility as well.
5. Speak up about your goals — whether to chair the fund-raising gala for your local arts center or join a corporate board – with confidence, clarity and conviction.
For those specifically interested in becoming board-ready, I found Betsy’s profiles of successful women corporate directors to be insightful, illuminating and inspirational.
Linda Descano serves as a Managing Director and Head of Digital Partnerships, Content and Social for North America Marketing at Citi. In this role, she is responsible for creating and delivering competitively differentiating consumer engagement experiences in digital and social channels to drive brand health and business goals. Linda is also President and CEO of Women & Co., a service of Citi that brings women relevant financial content and thoughtful commentary to get them thinking and talking about money.
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