Wednesday, 06 November 2019
In her everywomanClub Voices Of Experience edition, Chief Executive Officer of New Scientist, Nina Wright, reflects on a successful career and shares the benefits of experience in areas ranging from career planning to networking, mentoring to overcoming confidence issues.
"I didn't have a plan from the outset. I developed a plan because I knew I'd need to be more strategic about how to manage my career. I think I would have been more confident if I'd had a plan at the start of my career.
"On a number of occasions I'd look up to see male colleagues going off to this or that event while I was sat there slogging away. They've got the right idea. Networking is just a big a part of your career development as being good at your job is. I was the embodiment of a classic female executive 'doer'. I knew I had to get out of the 'doing' box. It was a conscious decision. I forced myself to walk into so many rooms where I knew nobody, confidently walk up to a stranger, look them in the eye and start a conversation. That's really hard. So I even planned for my networking."
Ever the planner, Nina even recommends planning for those moments when a chief executive chats to you in the lift! "When the CEO asks 'How is business?' you don't say "Fine thank you,' you say 'Well actually this is going well, this project is exciting'. You're doing a 20 second pitch. Plan it."
She has had a number of mentors over the years who she describes as "great sounding boards who help you know yourself better, understanding your strengths. Then you can start to work with yourself and plugging your gaps as well as amplifying the things you're good at."
She admits to the occasional crisis of confidence in certain situations and details how she learned to overcome them. "I anchor my anxiety in knowing that I'm pretty good at my job and I've a right to be at that table. Women are particularly uncomfortable saying the good stuff. I took a leaf out of my most confident male colleague's book who just seemed to do it effortlessly in a way that didn't come across as arrogant – it came across as really sharp and on the ball."