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From Entry-Level To Executive: Key Lessons From My Journey

When I was asked to share my professional journey with this esteemed group of women, I was admittedly a bit nervous. To be quite honest, my journey is not glamorous. It was not well-documented nor well-planned; there were no detailed milestones, career development plans or specific timelines that I held myself to achieving. One might even say that it was a bit accidental.

That said, what I did know early in my career was that I wanted to continuously learn new things, become a great leader, bring new ideas forward and progress into roles with increasing responsibility, impact and decision-making authority.  For me personally, it was important to eventually have a “seat at the table” to both feel fulfilled and to make an impact.

I was also ambitious, curious, passionate about the industry and smart. I worked hard, delivered on my commitments and brought new ideas to the table. I made mistakes along the way, but was determined to show resiliency and push forward — these turned out to be some of the most important learning moments in my life. Simply put: when you do good work, people notice. I was suddenly being tapped for new opportunities and I moved away from a subject matter expert to become more of a generalist, an evolution that opened up many new doors.

In the end, I credit my journey from entry-level to executive-level to three things:

1) A Champion

I certainly understand the importance of having a “champion”.  Many years ago, an executive in my company saw something in me that I didn’t, and took a chance on me. He promoted me into an important new role for which I had very little experience.  Initially, I didn’t want to take the role. He insisted, saying “you are smart, you work hard, and people like working with you. You will figure this out”. This single moment changed my career trajectory and forever reminds me of the importance of “paying it forward”.

2) The Opportunity To Work For Many Diverse Leaders

I had the great fortune to learn from many different leaders; some great, some not so great. Those great leaders inspired me to define my leadership style and the legacy I want to leave behind. Having clarity on what I stand for, my values and how I lead and treat others has served me very well.

3) Amazing People!

Lastly, I would not be where I am today without all the great people that have worked with and for me. A very smart leader once said, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, bring others with you”. I have never forgotten those words.

Written by: Megan Molony

Image: The Party Scene at Vision Expo East 2023. (2023, March 28). Vision Monday.

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