Cultivating Success: Three Career Strategies to Advance Yours and Others' Careers

Meghan Krishnayya
Meghan Krishnayya
June 14, 2019
Sponsored by: Brown and Caldwell
Cultivating Success - Three Career Strategies to Advance Yours and Others Careers
When was the last time you reflected on the why and how of your career path? I recently took a moment to do just that as I prepared to host the Networking Dinner at this year's NAEM Women's Leadership Roundtable. Almost immediately, I was reminded of the very powerful advice that still resonates with me today: Lift others up as you are advancing yourself. While this is one of the strategies of how I got to where I am today and why I took the path I did to leadership, there are three other lessons I've learned that are key to advancing your career and that of others.

Identifying mentors as you move up through leadership positions

Surrounding yourself with advocates is important, as is learning how to solicit, define, and co-opt mentors in your career. Mentors can be organic or deliberate, both internal or external to your company, and meant to improve your own thinking and performance. Seeking out the right mentor has made a significant difference in my career.

From my experience with various mentor dynamics, I have learned how to be more selective of mentors by aligning my values and goals, as well as how to reciprocate these values, as part of the mentorship relationship. Choose a mentor wisely and surround yourself with the right people for impact, which can be achieved by:
  • Identifying people that will help you develop a pathway to leadership.
  • Understanding the traits that are important in the professionals that surround you.
  • Evaluating the positive or negative impact that a potential mentor may have in influencing your career path.
Mentoring also requires a balanced feedback loop, and the ability to recognize how important feedback is to career advancement. Navigating feedback is just as important as seeking mentors that have the mutual goal to help you grow. Emotional intelligence is also critical to receiving feedback, especially if it is negative, non-constructive criticism. Do not let negative, non-constructive feedback hold you back from moving forward in your work.

Leadership and understanding communication styles

I have heard that a message must be communicated seven times and in seven different ways before it sticks. For this reason, if you want to advance in your career, you must learn how to support your own communication style to become a more effective leader. How do you do that? By enhancing how you convey your communication, through style, substance, and character.

For instance, brevity is important to executive communications. We must learn to use more succinct communications to get others to think about the bigger picture. Self-awareness and balance are also central to communication, especially when delivering dogmatic messages with the purpose to achieve alignment or clarity.

Inclusivity is the key to everyone's career progression

I thoroughly enjoy learning from others, especially as I explore different opportunities for leadership. While a lot of these learning opportunities come from those who mentor me, I also find that I learn from intentionally bringing someone else along the journey with me. Mentoring another person to move up in their career path while you progress in your own is a great way to reflect on how you present yourself as a leader. The inclusion of others with similar goals to gain access to and progress into leadership is very rewarding. It also provides the benefit of balancing out our profession when we can deliberately mentor women and others who are underrepresented in leadership.

Intentionally being inclusive in your pathway to leadership is rewarding and cascades the learning experience. The bottom line is the more we create a space for an open dialogue and keep an open mind on inclusivity, the better we and our businesses will be for it. Inclusion and diversity is good for business!

I look forward to the NAEM Women's Leadership Roundtable and the chance to exchange ideas and learning experiences during the Networking Dinner. As part of inclusion in cultivating success, I am bringing men into the conversation by inviting a male colleague to our dinner. His own journey to success, and his impact in the success of women he mentors, will be a great addition to the discussion.

NAEM's 2019 Women's Leadership Roundtable takes place in Savannah, Ga., from June 25-27.

About the Author

Meghan Krishnayya
Meghan Krishnayya
Brown and Caldwell
Meghan Krishnayya is the Vice President of Compliance & Permitting and at-large Director on the Board for Brown and Caldwell. She is located in Indianapolis, Indiana and is a chemical engineer with over 20 years of industrial and consulting experience in EHS management. In her current role, Meghan has oversight for Brown and Caldwell’s Compliance and Permitting operation company-wide, including managing staff development and coaching staff for career progression in EHS. She started her career in the chemical industry as a production engineer and moved over to EHS compliance management, developing a program from scratch at a start-up company, where she reported directly to the CFO. Her early exposure to operations and executive management greatly influenced her career path in consulting, where she has taken various leadership roles in company initiatives and teams, leading to her current position.

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