As we said in part one of our Women in APJ series, achieving global gender equality depends on the empowerment of women. Only when we are willing to systematically address attitudes, laws, and policies will we start to see tangible change. As a global company, Symantec has a profound opportunity to lead the charge toward global gender equality and further women's empowerment in all aspects of our organization – from our employees to our customers to the countless communities we are involved in. Together we will empower women across the globe.
Tapping into the knowledge and expertise of current female leaders will help carve a new path for women everywhere. With this in mind, we’ve asked some of Symantec's incredible women leaders in the APJ region two questions:
- What advice would you offer your younger self?
- What do you see as the biggest opportunities and challenges for young women today?
We think that women all over the world – and people of all genders – will find their answers insightful and inspiring. This is part two of a three-part series.
Caroline Wheeler – Enterprise Sales Account Manager, Australia
Before I had kids, I had very different goals and a different work-life balance. For me it’s not an age thing, but definitely a ‘kids’ thing. I used to be way more driven and aggressive. I probably didn’t see things from the other side often enough or step back before I made a decision. My advice to my younger self would be:
- Know what you like and don’t like, and be honest about it, because both still need to be managed.
- You don’t have to like everyone, but you do need to be pleasant to everyone.
- Doubt has killed more dreams then failure ever has; failure is an opportunity in disguise.
- Nothing will work unless you do.
While you're young and relatively free, find the time to push yourself more, spend time with mentors and successful people, and see how they do things. Network outside of the normal day with industry peers. Ask lots of ‘why’ and ‘so what’ questions to internal peers to find out what goes on and what does and doesn’t work. At some point – because of kids, sickness, or other unforeseen factors – you won't have bandwidth for these time-consuming opportunities, and you might have to compromise, and just focus on getting your job done. Most of us are in a customer service industry (sales, support, internal customers) and you have to get to know your customers and what makes them tick. Always ask yourself if you were the customer: Would I be happy with the situation? And, Was I listened to?
While you're young and relatively free, find the time to push yourself more, spend time with mentors and successful people, and see how they do things.
You also need to figure out what you really want the most – whether it's money, work-life balance, career title, to live in another country, to work for a certain company, to buy a house or a car – then make a ‘how’ plan and stick to it. Keep regular check on progress against the plan along the way and make adjustments but remember to just stick to one plan at a time. Don’t be afraid to compromise if that achieves more in the long term.
Some other pieces of advice:
- Don’t pretend to be someone you are not just to get on.
- If you need help, ask for it; determine who your help network is; the phrase ‘I wonder if you can please help me’ goes a long way.
- Don’t sweat the small stuff; the only person who will get left behind stressing will be you.
- It should be fun and feel right; if it’s not, try and fix it, and if that still doesn’t work, get out.
- The grass is never greener.
- Money isn’t everything.
Nicole Lustenberger – Account Manager Enterprise Sales, Australia
The main piece of advice I have for my younger self is that every opinion is valuable. I know when I was younger, I had ideas and opinions, but I was afraid to voice them because I thought I would be wrong or that there were more experienced people in the room who would surely know better. Now that I have spent over ten years in the industry, I realize that the unique perspective I bring is what is valued most amongst my peers and customers. This perspective is formed from my life experience, and no one else has that. And if you get it wrong, the world will not end – so speak up!
When I was younger, I had ideas and opinions, but I was afraid to voice them because I thought I would be wrong or that there were more experienced people in the room who would surely know better.
Relatedly, my advice is to respect everyone and listen to their opinions. Sometimes you may disagree, but a healthy mixture of debate and empathy can provoke new ideas or perspectives within yourself. This will make you a better leader and a more successful person in all aspects of your life.
Vivian Tan – Director, Legal & Public Affairs, Singapore
Your career path will be a bumpy ride ahead. Embrace failures, mistakes, and obstacles in front of you, and turn them into learning opportunities. That said, never forgo humility and compassion along this journey to meet your aspiration. We are living in a disruptive and connected world. We should never stop learning after college, and we should continue to invest in our own self-development, take up new challenges – including taking risks – and stay on top of this fast-moving technology space.
This is part two of a three-part series. You can read part one here. Stay tuned for part three of our series in the coming weeks.
A collective of successful Symantec women in APJ share their advice to the younger female generation entering the workforce.
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