Alumni series: How to Accelerate your Career

the upReach view, Kieran Sandhur, Business Analyst

Last night on Aviva’s dizzying 23rd floor, upReach alumni had the privilege of listening to professional experts Jonny Briggs, Neeha Khurana, Sasha Salmon and Dr. Gloria Esegbona share their insights on how to get ahead in your career.

Each panellist had a different story to tell based on their experiences, but common themes emerged on overcoming Imposter’s Syndrome, asserting your identity and ultimately reaching the place you deserve to be. We’ve summarised some of the key points below.

Jonny Briggs, Aviva, Global Head of Talent Acquisition
Jonny emphasised the importance of demonstrating resilience, asking questions and – almost counter-intuitive to his current industry – taking risks. He highlighted that as individuals we improve by failing. We need to take chances and fail fast, so we can then look at how to do things better. Organisations, and people, that don’t celebrate failure will fail themselves. As a Glaswegian, Jonny discussed how being a minority is interesting and allows you to bring new perspectives to the table. Thrive on this difference and embrace your authentic self.

Neeha Khurana, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, International Head of Talent
“You are your own investment so recognise your worth and believe in it”. Those were some of the wise words shared by Neeha. She acknowledged how we can be an obstacle to our own success by telling ourselves we can’t do the things we need to. We need to overcome these insecurities however and learn to embrace the differences that will allow us to excel. Neeha also encouraged speaking out, seizing opportunities, setting your sights on a goal and shaping your future. If you’re in a position that isn’t working as it should be, don’t be afraid to discuss this with your manager. If they’re not someone to support you, bin them!

Sasha Salmon, Department for Education, Senior Policy Advisor
For Sasha, it’s the unconventional that can be impressive. She focused on how experiences shape our perspectives and the value in using your difference to better your work. Sasha spoke about the weakness of assimilating what you think is appropriate behaviour. As soon as we stop being authentic, we hinder our ability to succeed. Instead, we should be confident and recognise our assets. Being confident will also invite others to approach you. From her experiences Sasha learned the importance of being the change. Influence the people that influence, by educating and challenging them during ‘Imposter Moments’. The last thing you should do is hide who you are.

Dr. Gloria Esegbona, .thinkinbox, Founder and Chief Executive
Gloria highlighted the importance of introspection in order to realise the value of your perspective and what you add. Whilst we’re constantly encouraged to think outside the box, Gloria asked us to think inside – of the barriers we face, the opportunities we can seize, external influencing factors and societal values underpinning our interactions. By focusing on our values, we can understand what drives us forward and the merit of the connections we build. She also suggested that the age of specialisation is over. In order to succeed, diversify your skillset and build a portfolio.

Thanks to those of you who attended – we hope you found it as informative as we did! For those of you who couldn’t attend, we hope to see you at the next one.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *