In the beginning…(AKA “Why I started this blog and what you’ll get out of it.”)
In the beginning…I was going through my own critical decision-making related to my career at one of the world’s largest consulting firms. I was at the cross-roads of deciding whether to complete the final stage of the path towards partnership or to break away and pursue all the other career aspirations I knew I was capable of but had somehow lost sight of along the way. I decided to be brave and walk.
In the beginning… there was a notebook. As I took that first step to identify why and how I needed to take back charge of my career and what specific career step would come next for me, I set aside a notebook. I started to record the decision-making models and processes I came up with for myself as I charted my course forward. I also recorded many of the factors that I found to be frustrating for women in the workforce, and in particular for the younger generation. I had talent and leadership potential that I felt was not being maximized to the fullest. I also recorded what I planned to do about it. As time progressed, I shared these concepts with others, who in turn found them to be valuable and helpful in their own career progression.
In the beginning…when people asked me what it felt like to make such a game changing decision when I was approaching the finish line, I described it as follows: To have worked so hard and so long towards something that you always believed was your ultimate goal, and then, as you got closer to it, to find out that due to multiple factors it was not all you thought it was cracked up to be, is distressing to say the least. To then take a stand and question yourself and those all around you, including those who have been your greatest supporters, to struggle with determining if you are betraying yourself or being true to yourself, and to have to dig deep to find the answers, is painful to say the least. To arrive at a decision, then to take action upon it, and to deal with the fallout as you discover who really does stand by your side because they really get who you are, as opposed to who feels that this is more about them than it is about you, and to leave something you have been a part of for so long in order to move forward to your future, to what you were really meant to be in your career, is both traumatic and uplifting.
In the middle…all those people who knew me well said I should start my own company, that I had such entrepreneurial spirit and energy. I told them “no”, that just making this huge change was enough, that I wasn’t ready to start my own business. Instead, I secured a fantastic position at one of the world’s largest Benefits Consulting and Risk Management companies. I got to be home more and enjoy quality time with my husband. Within six months, I recognized that this was just a transitional role for me. The organization was not a good fit for me in terms of culture, and was not going to provide me with the canvas to grow and excel in the areas that had been the whole point of making a major change in the first place. But it was the perfect time and space and opportunity to take a step back and establish my strategy for my next step while still being in a great position in a very good company. As I looked at what needed to be next, I was ready to tell myself what others had already told me…you have the entrepreneurial spark…follow it! I started to map out my plans. When, in what was supposed to be my year-end review meeting, as part of multiple reorganizations in the 18 months I had been with the company, I was told that my position was being eliminated, internally I shouted with delight. Externally I began a very strategic negotiating process that resulted in me having sufficient funds to start my own company.
In the middle, the notebook got fuller with more and more ideas and concepts about the things that I was most passionate about in my career. Almost all of those in some fashion or another tied back to doing great work that I could be proud of with great companies and great people, the joy of continuing to successfully tackle complex transformation changes with organizations and individuals, and the desire to make a difference when it came to the continued advancement of women in the workplace and crossing the generational divide. The notebook became my stomping ground for ideas for the short, medium and long-term. It continued to be my source for discussions with interested parties about what I intended to build and do with these ideas over time.
In the middle…when people asked me what it was like to have taken these risks, I could only answer that it was exciting and scary all at the same time. But I also replied that I had no regrets, and that it was the right thing for me to do. I could also say that I was able to branch out and do things I would not have otherwise done and that my creativity was on an upward spiral. I could also tell them that it was just the beginning.
In the end…well, there is no end. Because truly, it was and continues to be just the beginning. I founded my own company Ovation Global Strategies, LLC in late 2008. I am delighted with the results so far and feel very blessed that it has been so successful. I have built up a very successful consulting practice where I continue to do large complex transformational change projects with companies. But that is just one part of it. In parallel with that I have spent the last two years, building from the ground up, a new part of the business that is focused on cross-generational collaboration, development and advancement of women in the workplace. Here I stand, in April of 2013, ready to launch this new part of the business.
I have taken my notebook in which I captured all those models and processes and ideas, and I have brought it to life in this new part of the business. I have taken something that I have experienced and observed again and again and turned it into something that I truly believe will provide value to the organizations and individuals that choose to be part of it.
This blog is intended to be a valuable resource for you. A resource with which you can spur your ideas and thinking on these topics and continue to make strides forward and upward, whether you are reading this from the perspective of your organization or as an individual. The blog will cover topics related to cross-generational collaboration among women of all ages in leadership, and will also feature interviews with women from different generational groups (Millennials, Gen X, Gen Y, Baby Boomers…however you name them you’ll hear from them here). This topic is my passion, and I hope it is yours too.
Thank you so much for reading the very first entry in this blog. I look forward to your return to read further blog entries and to share your comments. Cheers!