Sherry Bevan - "Manage your career with confidence and purpose to realise your ambitions"

Automatic Summary

A Guide To Managing Your Career With Confidence and Purpose

A warm welcome to all career-driven women in tech. In this post, we'll explore how to manage your career with confidence and purpose. This session is for you if you yearn for more from your career, feel stuck, or wish to overcome any lack of confidence that may be hindering your progress.

Let's dive in and uncover the methods to build a career that speaks to your ambitions – those at the early stages, those at mid-level, and senior professionals alike. We will explore our topic under three key categories: Clarity, Commitment, and Community, referred to as the 3Cs of Career Management.

Clarity in Career Goals

Firstly, it's crucial to get clear on your career goal. It's about being ambitious and having a broader vision of your career direction rather than focusing solely on job titles. Additionally, get clear on your skills, experiences, and personal superpowers.

A useful exercise to gain clarity on your preferences is creating a Hell Yes/Hell No list. Divide a piece of paper into three columns and list down the activities you love and hate related to your career in the relevant columns. This exercise can lead you to understand which tasks empower you and which ones do not, thus allowing you to focus on your strengths.

Commitment to Personal Growth

The key is making a commitment to you and your career. Commitment here implies not just dedication to your professional responsibilities but also a solemn undertaking toward self-development. It involves investing time and sometimes, money, in your personal learning. It could be reading a personal development book, or listening to a TED talk, undergoing a new skills certification, or hiring a career coach.

Remember, commitment also requires stepping out of comfort zones. Engage in new opportunities, take up tasks that scare you, learn and grow from those experiences.

Community and Networking

Finally, find your tribe, your community. Being a part of a community or networking group, in-house or external, can provide enormous inspiration, support, and encouragement. It also gives exposure to different perspectives and opportunities.

It's also important to have a circle of trust – people who can push you forward, uplift you in hard times, and challenge you to embark on new ventures.

To develop a healthy community, consider attending networking events, meeting new people, engaging in various projects, and joining groups – both in and outside of your professional field.


To wrap up, managing your career with clarity, commitment, and community can lead you to career success. Get clear on your career goals and strengths, show commitment towards self-improvement, and find your networking tribe. With these, you can manage your career with confidence and purpose. For additional guidance, download the handout available on my website.

Feel free to connect on LinkedIn, Twitter, or join our Career Conversations group on Facebook. Let's continue the conversation and help each other manage our careers with confidence and purpose!

Key Takeaways

  • Having clarity in career goals and understanding personal strengths is fundamental for career management.
  • Show commitment towards self-development and take up unfamiliar tasks to expand your learning horizons.
  • Having a supportive network or community can provide motivation, encouragement, and exposure to various perspectives and opportunities.

Video Transcription

So very warm welcome to you all. I'm very excited to be talking at this Women Tech Global Conference this year and really excited to be sharing with you how to manage your career with confidence and purpose. So we've got a really lovely diverse group here.Um Just to give me a little hint of um where you are in your career so that I know how to tailor my presentation a little bit. I'd love to know. Um whereabouts are you in your career? Are you at the early stages of your career? Are you kind of mid-level and established and know what you, you know, where you're going or are you very senior in your role or are you not really sure of somewhere in the middle? So it really helped me to really tailor the content for what you need to know. So, you know, whereabouts are you in your career? The starting stages, mid level or perhaps more senior level, early level, but very ambitious. I love a bit of ambition mid-level again and again. Yeah. Ok. Brilliant. That's really helpful. Somewhere in the middle first stage of management, early stages and excited. Great. I love a bit of excitement. Ella, thank you. So, let's have a look at my slides. Um So who this is for? So this presentation I'm aiming at women who want more from their career and who work in technology. Um It might be that you're feeling stuck and you're not sure what to focus on next. It might be.

There's a bit of lack of confidence getting in your way or maybe you're worried about getting rejected or you don't want to put yourself forward for a promotion because you're worried that you know what people are going to think. But I want you to know that you can manage your career with absolute confidence and purpose to realize your ambitions. And that's really what I want to explore today is how you can um manage your career. So I am going to be showing you in a um towards the end. I do have a handout that you can download from my website so that you've got access to um some of the content I'm going to share. Plus there's a bit of extra content in there because in 20 minutes, I couldn't, I couldn't share everything. So I've limited it to um three different things that we're going to look at today. So, one of the interesting things that I read a few years ago is that um KPMG did a study back in 2000 and 15 and it's showed that 67% of women need more support to have the confidence, to feel like they could be leaders. And I think that's such a huge percentage, 67%. And what I want to show you today is how you can get that confidence. And what I often see in the work that I do is that women hesitate before applying for a, for a job or for a promotion.

They're feeling a bit uncertain or they lack confidence And so they don't want to get a mentor or sponsor. Um Sometimes they're even feeling daunted and anxious about applying for a new role or applying for a promotion, even when they've been encouraged to do that by their manager.

And often as well, what I see is that women tend not to negotiate when they start a new role on their starting salary or when they get promoted. And all of this means that um we tend to, we sometimes women can feel like they lack confidence, but actually, it's not that women necessarily lack the confidence. It's, but our instinctive, natural style of being and behaving and communicating at work is different for a man's and we often, we don't value the differences. So it's not that one is right or that one is wrong, but we are different. And really what it's about is being able to adopt a style that um that plays to your authentic strengths. And that's what I'm here today is to show you how you can manage your career with confidence and purpose while still being true and authentic to yourself. So, very little bit about me. So I don't want to take up lots of time on that. But um I've worked in technology all my life more than 25 years. I, my last senior role in uh in technology was a global head of it service for one of the top law firms. I've been running my own consultancy and coaching practice since 2012.

Um I've been shortlisted in various awards or is the bridesmaid and never the bride is an expression that I've heard somebody use and often get invited to comment on TV, on, on radio and in the media on things that do with women and their careers and in my spare life, I'm a runner.

I've got a place for London Marathon in October. Um I'm a cyclist and I do dog sitting. So that's just a little bit about me. So today, what I want to talk to you about then is how to manage your career with confidence and purpose and specifically what I want to look at and explore is the three CS of clarity, commitment and community. So let's have a look at the first one. So this is um what I tell my, the women that I work with all the time career success isn't magic. You make it happen and you make it happen on purpose, even if you don't know exactly where you're going yet, but you can make your career success happen very often when we, um, when we're at school or when we're at university, we start to think that, um, you know, you know, what we see is that we work hard and we get the results and sometimes what we think we, we take that habit of working hard and getting good results.

We take that habit into the workplace, into our career. And actually that doesn't really do us any favors because everybody else at work is too busy, working hard themselves to notice what you're doing. So you actually have to take the initiative, take control and manage your career with confidence and purpose and that's how you make it happen. So let's start off by looking at clarity then. So what do I mean by clarity? There's a few different things. I think it's really important for you to get clear on the first one is to get clear on your career goal. And I want you to be ambitious. There was somebody in the chat earlier and I can't remember who it was now. But who said that they were ambitious? I love that and somebody else I think it was Ella said that she was excited. I love that as well. And that's what I want for all women to feel excited and ambitious about their career. And you do that by getting clarity. So get ambitious and aim for the stars, but you need to have some clarity about where you're going. Now, I know that for some of you, I mean, Carlotta has mentioned that she's, she's not sure yet what she wants. So what's important is to know the direction that you're going in. So to, to, you don't necessarily need to know the, all the ins and outs, you don't need to know the detail but to have a general direction.

So for example, when I was working in it, um you know, in a law firm, I knew that I wanted to get promoted, I knew that I was ambitious. I knew that I wanted to have more input, more um more influence, more authority on what the organization was doing in terms of how it used its technology and how it trained its people, how to use the technology and how the business got the best out of the technology. But I didn't have a job title in mind. So I want you to be ambitious and I want you to have that clarity about where you're going, but it's not necessarily about knowing the exact job title. It's also about getting really clear on, on your skills. You know, what's your experience? What are you good at? What's your superpower? It's um you know, getting that clarity on who you are and what you do will really help to build your confidence. And when you've got that inner confidence, that inner purpose, that inner self belief that is very powerful and very magnetic to, to management and to people in other organizations. So, so it is really about getting clear on your skills and getting clear on, on who you are. But also I want you to think about getting clear on how the business values, the work that you do. So sometimes we get very busy doing work and very busy on certain projects, but we're actually doing stuff that the business doesn't value.

So be aware of, you know, what you're doing and what you're being busy on is it work that the business values? So, one of the things I always talk about is, you know, identify the zebra in, you get clear on who your zebra is. When you look at two zebras, they are absolutely unique. They might look the same, they might look like they've got the, the same stripes, but every single zebra is unique and that's the same for you as well. So very often people would say to me, oh, well, I'm a marketing manager and there are 1000 marketing managers working in the technology space or I'm a project manager and I specialize in architecture projects, but you do have a unique set of stripes. You know, you've got your skills, your experience, your superpower. So get clear on what your skills are. Um And some of the ways that you can do this, one of the things I often suggest is writing down a hell yes. Hell no list. So you, you write um, piece of paper, three columns. Hell yes. Hell no. And then a question mark. Everything that you love doing you put in your hell yes list, the column, everything you hate doing, you put in your hell no column and then all the stuff you're not, you know, you're not bothered about. Then you put in your question mark column.

It's just one way of getting clear on what's important to you about the work that you do. Um So moving on then why get paid for work that bores you when you could get paid for work you love. And this is why I think it's so important to manage your career with confidence and purpose so that you have work that you love and that fills you with joy. Um Commitment then is my second thing for you and this is about making a commitment to you and to your career. Now, it sounds like from, um, from everybody who's popped into the chat box, you are already committed to your career, which is fantastic. But I'm wondering now, I'm just gonna ask you a question. When was the last time that you made a commitment to your career? When was the last time you invested in yourself? When was the last time that you read a personal development book or you listen to a TED talk, maybe you paid for a career coach or you, you signed up for um a new skills certification. So commitment is about making a commitment to yourself. It's about having that self belief in who you are and what you do. Um And I then says, yes, watching your session definitely should, should count.

So some of the things that I encourage people to do is um do training and that could be technical training, but it could also be self development training. So Ted talks, reading personal development books, um get a personal, you know, get somebody who will sponsor and mentor you at work and and don't just find somebody to do it. But then actually go ahead and do the work with that person. A, a mentor can be hugely invaluable and a sponsor at work is hugely invaluable as well because that's going to be the person talking for you when you're not in the room. The other thing I want you to do is make a commitment to seek out new opportunities, volunteer for things, get involved in different projects. What um what you can do is is, is do something that scares you step into your discomfort zone because when you do something scary that makes you anxious, it gives you that again, that inner confidence that, oh wow. Well, I did that and it wasn't as bad as I thought. So it gives you that confidence to try the next big scary thing.

And so a couple of people are saying in the, in the chat that they're finding it difficult to, um, find time to, to, to do this. But if you're serious about your career, then you absolutely owe it to yourself. And that is where that commitment comes in. It is sometimes it is about a financial commitment, but it is as well about making that time commitment. Nobody else is going to look after your career in the same way as you can. You might have a mentor, you might have a sponsor, but you owe it to yourself to fully commit and make a commitment to your, to your career. I understand, you know, time gets busy, but then it is about making the time and blocking the time out in your diary is what I often suggest. Yes, the discomfort zone. It's a fabulous book. I I can recommend hundreds of books. So if you want book recommendations afterwards, do come and connect with me on linkedin. So when I talk about commitment, I'm talking about making that commitment to you and to your career and investing in yourself, whether that's time or money and, and doing scary stuff. Getting into that discomfort zone. OK? And then my final c for you today is all about the community. I want you to go out there and find your tribe.

Hopefully you're finding some of your tribe about um you know, in as part of this event because there are amazing people in this event and Simone. Hi, Simone. Love to see you again. A good example of the magic happened that when women got together, me and Simone connected in a talk that we were having yesterday in another session and, and, and started to follow each other and it was amazing. It was brilliant to, to meet, to make the most of this conference to find your tribe, to find your community the power when you know, there's something about when women get together, magic really does happen. Um And it's somehow we're better at it than anybody. You know, the, the men, typically, we're very good at building relationships. We're very good at building networks. Um So I want you to go and find your tribe, go networking, find networking opportunities. Um I would encourage you to do your networking in house. So in the company that you work with, get to meet other people in other teams, get to meet the more senior people, but also do networking outside of your organization. So obviously, events like this is perfect for that or going when we get back to face to face networking, going along to user group meetings or going along to.

Um So, so you could either go along to meetings that are specifically for the, the field that you work in. So if you're a woman in space or if you're a, a woman working with big data or if you're a woman that does it service delivery, you know, go along to those groups, but also go along to networking groups for women in your area. And it doesn't just have to be women's groups, you know, go along to mixed groups as well. But networking is really powerful and really valuable. Um The other thing I would suggest you do is is to find that circle of trust, you know, who can you have around you to support and encourage you. I want you to have that circle of trust that will encourage you when you're feeling scared, who push you forward when you're thinking, oh, I'm not sure if I'm ready for this, who can lift you uh when you're feeling anxious or worried and who can challenge you to do new things.

And very often when, if you're going to do something scary for the first time knowing that you've got a group of women behind you supporting you makes a huge powerful difference because you know that if it doesn't go well, you can always go back and say, oh my gosh, that was awful.

And I was scared, but they will support and encourage you. So it really is about finding women who will lift you and you may already have a tribe. Maybe you've already got a community. But is it a community that inspires you that lifts you that supports you and encourages you because that is what you need when we're talking about community. Um So Elsie, yes, I will go in and pop some book recommendations in there. I've got love lots of book recommendations.

So um I can't cover everything in a 20 minute session. But if you want more about how to manage your career of confidence and purpose, I do have a um a download that you can um grab if you go to the confident handouts. Um and I do cover clarity, commitment and community in there and then I cover two other things as well. So to download a copy of the, the handout, um Let me type the link into the chat box for you dot There we go. So, um so that's what I really want you to do is to go away and manage your career with confidence and purpose. Oops. So I want you to remember those three CS, the clarity about getting clear on who you are and what you do and what's unique and special about you. So remember that zebra, I want you to show commitment to you and your career because no one else is going to do that for you. You've got to manage your career with confidence and purpose by showing that commitment and then find your tribe, find your community because that will really lift you up. It's your, it's your cheerleader squad, it's your support circle.

And I know I missed somebody was asking um about uh how do you do this? How do you get, how do you talk about yourself and still support your team. And I think there is very easily a way of doing that by being real and genuine and authentic. You manage your own career. But obviously, you, you, we all have a responsibility I believe, to bring other women along with us and to lift those women up. So thank you so much for everybody for your wonderful comments and feedback. It's really, it's really good to know that, that what I'm saying is, is resonating if you want to connect with me afterwards to continue the conversation. I'm over on Facebook. I run a career group called Career Conversations. So just go and search for that. I'm on Twitter and of course, you can connect with me on linkedin, which is where I am just about every single day. So, thank you so much. I hope you enjoy the rest of the conference. There are some amazing speakers, talking so good luck and go out there and manage your career with confidence and purpose.