WTS-DC Professional Development/Scholarship/Mentoring Committees joint event on Oct 23, 2017.
“Making Stride in Your Career”
On October 23rd, the WTS professional development, scholarship and mentoring committee hosted a joint event “Making Stride in Your Career.” This event was built on the last year’s “Developing your Personal Brand” theme by focusing on career advancement. The event was held in the Arlington County Board Room.
The event featured four panelists from different transportation sectors: public, non-profit, as well as both small and large private companies. Panelists included Jennifer Aument, Group General Manager at Transurban; Neil Pedersen, Director of the Transportation Research Board (TRB); Amy Morris, president of T3 Design Corporation; and, Bill Cuttler, Assistant District Engineer for the Northern Virginia District of the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT).
Panelists answered questions and shared advice from decades of professional experience and learning from their own mistakes. A few tidbits from the event are shared below:
- Do not be too rigid in your ideal career path or worry about hitting specific milestones within particular time frames. If you are too specific about job positions, you may be closing the door to greater opportunities.
- Surround yourself with people who complement your skills.
- Learn from your mistakes, but do not dwell on them.
- Be cautious about the temptation to jump between employers to broaden your experience. You may be able to broaden your experience with your current employer.
- Go out of your way to genuinely compliment others, including your supervisor.
- Mentor others. At almost every level, you have experience to help others.
- Volunteer for professional organizations that can broaden your experience and leadership skills.
- Reading, taking classes, and learning are just one piece of career development. Just remember that knowledge is trumped every day by action. Apply what you learn.
- Do not expect other people to give you praise and be able to document and market your own track record of successes. You often must be your own advocate.
- Market yourself for higher level jobs that attract your interests.
- The greatest failure in performance appraisals is a lack of mutual understanding about what factors are to be monitored and how they will be measured. It is important to communicate goals and objectives, with regular feedback.
- Hire for diversity, not just the people who are the most like you. This ensures better ideas, backgrounds, and ways of thinking are represented to solve today’s challenges.