Business has an ever-changing face in the light of downsizing, an economy in flux, and technology that is constantly rewriting the way we interact with the world. Our board member, Lisa Jammer, has worked in an array of industries ranging from aviation to academia to the #1 job site. See her interview below for advice on the importance of adaptability and finding and sticking to your course in the workplace.
Create a Roadmap
One thing that people will notice on Lisa’s online profile is that she worked in aviation for 8 years. “That’s the career where I learned how to handle a high level of responsibility very early in my career,” she said. “I started young and did a lot of accounting administration work. I was extremely effective in this function and promoted several times in a short period but knew that it wasn’t what I wanted to do long term. So I became proactive and sought out someone to help me explore other internal job opportunities. I always tell MBA students to leverage career services and to have exploratory interviews. I connected with an HR Manager and told her, ‘I am interested in a career change. I’ve evaluated my motivators combined with interests and I’d like a career in HR.’ She advised that if I wanted to do a career shift, that I was going to have to “own” and be the driver of my career. I realized that I had to embrace it from a holistic standpoint. I had to get out connected to the HR community and be involved in organizations that nurtured, educated, and supported my professional goals. I quickly created a long-term action plan, got involved with local organizations to increase my knowledge and landed an HR role about 18 months later. I moved from a supporting recruiter function and later began global recruiting with travels from Amsterdam to Mumbai.”
You can’t drive a car that’s unbalanced, so how are you supposed to drive your career that way? Driving your own career is about utilizing your resources, setting goals, but not getting lost in the day to day monotony of being in school or business demands. When Lisa ran a career program, she noticed that students would get lost in their classes and often forget about networking until it was time to graduate. Her advice is to remain focused and action orientated while managing your many life roles. Balancing your personal life with school, developing community and professional networks, and everyday life is difficult but it’s necessary to drive your career forward. One value-add that Lisa utilized was identifying and securing multiple mentoring relationships. “I looked for mentors with backgrounds that I’d love to be in and prepared for each discussion by identifying discussion goals, following up on action items and arriving to each meeting early. Always be on time and prepared.”
Women tend to downplay or have a difficult time talking about their accomplishments. But you will have to discuss yourself in an effective way in both MBA programs, interviews, and at work. Lisa’s advice is, “You can promote yourself without overselling yourself.”
Tips for sharing your accomplishments:
- Be authentic. Find what you are authentically good at so that you can talk about that with a sense of accomplished pride. Instead of thinking of it as bragging, think about it as, “what can I do to help this person/organization?”
- Embrace and promote those around you. It tends to be easier for women to promote their passions if they are fighting for a cause or promoting others is part of that. The process of embracing others means reaching out and connecting with others. You might find who are dealing has similar issues. It’s about finding a similar cause and a stronger voice in cooperation with others. What gives Lisa the confidence? “ We are building something larger than ourselves.”
- Stick to your values and what motivates you. “ I was attracted to my current job at Indeed because it’s all about helping people get jobs. When I was a kid, my dream job was to lead a non-profit or teaching elementary school because those were very service-based jobs. My values are very service-oriented, and it’s always been about helping others for me. It's one of the things that attracted me to Indeed where our mission is to help people with getting jobs."
Stay Focused While Switching Lanes
Lisa has worked in a variety of careers and has developed a diverse toolkit that allows her to stay true to her passions. “You can’t walk away from your value system. In business, a lot of people forsake their values for financial gain or notoriety. Be true to yourself because your values and motivators can’t be compromised. Developing transferable skills centered around those passions is so much more important than a job title. For example, I may not be physically teaching in a classroom but I’m providing guidance in other ways such as through NAWMBA’s mentorship program. Developing my passions inside and outside of work and being adaptable has made me a better professional because I bring a variety of ideas and perspectives to a rapidly changing environment.”
Welcome Challenging Roads Ahead
Be fearless in the roles that you pursue. Your functions will change and you will need to change with them in order to stay relevant in the job market. Lisa worked in aviation during 9/11 and experienced extensive changes in a short period of time. Airlines did mass cuts across the industry. All of a sudden, her role and workload expanded. She welcomed this challenge and quickly looked for opportunities to develop professionally to better manage her responsibilities. “It’s important to have that ‘yes, I can get it done without expecting immediate rewards,’ attitude in the right career situation.” If the opportunities exist go for it, even if that means that you might have to take a lateral move and sometimes decrease in your compensation package. “I left a corporate job and went into the education field where there are loads of opportunity but lower compensation for an opportunity to follow my passion and develop my skillset was. When I decided to leave education and go back to a corporate position to fill both passion and family needs, I had the opportunity because I had kept my eye on the bigger picture. Because of this, I’ve been able to drive my own career in an extremely rewarding manner and every day I get to contribute to helping people get jobs.”