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The CFA Society Chicago Women’s Network Advisory Group gave us tools and tips for taking our careers to the next level during an interactive event that brought together all elements of the Empowerment Series on December 3rd at the Northern Trust Global Conference Center. The Empowerment Series was intended to support career development and advancement of women in the investment management profession but the events have also attracted men who are interested in these universal topics. The wrap-up event was structured similar to speed networking. Attendees participated in round table discussions guided by table hosts. Below is a summary of the discussions at each table per the Empowerment Series topics.

Negotiation Tactics:

Marina Viergutz, CFA engaged those at her table with a very important negotiation scenario. How do you respond to an offer for a new role, so you optimize salary and benefits? Preparation is the key. Starting with the offer letter, you should consider the following:

  1. Measure the salary and benefits against an industry benchmark or delay the negotiation until you have determined an acceptable range.
  2. Help the hiring manager and human resources help you. Do your research and be able to back-up any points in your case with facts and figures.
  3. Try a different angle. For example, if salary isn’t flexible, ask about bonus, time off and flexible work arrangements.
  4. Whether it is salary or benefits such as flex time, know what is important to you and try to get it at the start of a new role because it will be more difficult to go back later and renegotiate.

Looking at this more broadly, the same tactics can be used to negotiating compensation during annual performance reviews. Finally, there are nuances between internal and external negotiations. When approaching this internally, you can use your experience and tenure to get perspective and move the discussion forward but always be prepared.   

You can read more about the Tips and Tricks for Negotiating for Yourself Empowerment Series event with Laurel Bellows on the CFA Society Chicago blog.

Personal Branding:

Christine Tinker, CFA led a discussion among table attendees on how to advocate for yourself, articulate your value and utilize your branding statement as part of a personal development strategy. She built on Karyl Innis’ presentation stating that a brand solidifies a reputation and creates opportunities. Brand messaging is how you look, act, sound and speak. First impressions count and are based on:

  • Visual – 55%
  • Vocal – 38%
  • Verbal – 7%

It is also noteworthy that it takes 18 months of thoughtful work with small deliberate steps to rebrand yourself and get others to see you in a different light.  Get started now and practice a skill you would like to bolster and make small moves over time. This doesn’t happen overnight.

Other nuggets we walked away with were to be your own “fixer” department and aspire to be a premium brand. Use “A” words to describe yourself such as expert, authority, strategist, master, guru and visionary versus “C” words such as skilled, competent and reliable. Control what others see and think about you.  Everyone has a brand, but you may be unaware of some aspects of yours or how others perceive you. To dig deeper into this, ask people you trust for honest feedback so you can gain perspective. Create proof points or a list of accomplishments to support your branding statement. 

Read more about the Building a Distinguished Career through Personal Branding Empowerment Series event with Karyl Innis on the CFA Society Chicago Blog.

Take Control of Your Career:

The Career Advancement – Taking Control table led by Linda Ruegsegger, CFA discussed key ideas to help attendees assess the current state of their careers and learn about techniques needed to reach their goals. 

Table attendees completed a worksheet geared at helping to create an individual definition of success, career goals on the one to five-year horizon and skills needed to achieve these goals.

Tying into Gail Meneley’s presentation, the focus is to manage and navigate career transitions.  Some of the concepts explored were:

  1. How did success happen and how did you learn from failures?
  2. How do you promote yourself and receive recognition?
  3. What are some strategies for transitioning jobs including a positive exit strategy?
  4. What is the role of networking and having an elevator pitch to articulate your value proposition?

A key takeaway is that continual engagement in networking and building professional and personal relationships is an integral part of a career strategy. This is important whether you are looking for a new job or very happy in your current role. 

Check out the CFA Society Chicago blog to read about the Take Control of Your Career Empowerment Series event with Gail Meneley.

Building Relationship Equity:

Tiffany Greenhouse, CFA hosted the roundtable discussion on building relationship equity. This discussion built on ideas from Carol Seymour’s presentation. Greenhouse guided attendees on best practices for building an internal network, how to best set oneself up for sponsorship, and how to be a sponsor for others. 

Ideas discussed focused on the importance of building strong relationships inside and outside of your firm. Getting a sponsor and identifying key people you need to influence for success in your current role are critical. Having a successful relationship with a sponsor builds on personal branding and relationship equity. When building relationship equity, soliciting and acting upon feedback while being authentic is essential. 

What are tips for building relationship equity?

  1. Understand if you have a mentor or sponsor. A sponsor chooses you and will advocate for you. A mentor can be a peer; someone you bounce ideas off of or solicit feedback from.
  2. Articulate your value proposition in an elevator pitch.
  3. Map out the key influencers at your organization and whom you need to build relationships with.
  4. Seek feedback from people you work with on current projects.
  5. Be authentic – there is a lot of buzz around this.
  6. Build relationships ahead of time; It is often too late when you are looking for a new position.

The event concluded with networking over cocktails and snacks. Attendees at every stage of their career have benefited from The Alan Meder Empowerment Series and now have confidence and tools to move to the next level.