By Tracey Arnish,
Chief Member Experience Officer, Coast Capital Savings
We often hear that women are conditioned from an early age to prioritize the needs of others over their own. Ensuring that those around us are supported is undoubtedly important, but it’s vital that women not lose sight of their needs, while driving their own accomplishments.
This year, as we celebrate International Women’s Day, I am reflecting on my own personal and professional journey and the road that has brought me to a leadership role at Coast Capital Savings. Just as I have been supported and inspired by others, I hope that my experience may in turn help to motivate other women trying to find their place in the workforce or looking to advance their careers.
In my youth, I recall being acutely aware of the impression and image I wanted to leave with others. My father actually helped instill in me the value of thoughtfulness, while also emphasizing the importance of clarity and confidence. It was during my time at SAP Canada in 2010, working within a large multinational corporation, where I began to realize the importance of establishing a personal brand.
Purposefully developing my brand in a manner that truly reflects who I am as an individual has benefitted me tremendously. This brand reflects my core values and defines how I want to present myself to the world—both personally and professionally.
Whereas the term brand is typically associated with a product, the development of a personal brand in many respects is no different. It may feel strange to view yourself in those terms, as if your personality can be boiled down to a collection of bullet points. However, by defining a personal brand, you’re providing insight into who you are, what motivates you, and what you stand for. To put it another way, if you can’t articulate or promote your own capabilities, you will in turn struggle to convince people of the value and benefits that you have to offer.
Now I didn’t just wake up one day with a vision—it’s an ongoing work in progress. But it starts with identifying avenues through which to tell your story, in ways that feel natural when cultivating new relationships and presenting yourself at work and beyond.
Sharing your successes (when appropriate) can serve as motivation for your friends and colleagues to make positive changes in their own lives. I see every challenge that I encounter as a new opportunity to learn and grow—and if you begin to see things from that perspective, you’ll always be able to find a silver lining.
I believe one of our greatest strengths as women, is our ability to establish authentic relationships. These genuine connections serve us well on a personal level, but women don’t always fully benefit from the strong relationships they make at work. Nobody wants to feel like they’re leveraging a relationship to get ahead professionally, but building relationships and connections is standard practice, particularly in the business world.
Another focal point that has helped me achieve my professional goals is prioritizing self-care. I frequently hear that women have a difficult balancing act between work, raising a family and other responsibilities —any combination of which can lead to fatigue or burnout—but we can’t forget our own needs.
Working out, getting enough sleep, and establishing your definition of work-life balance are all important. If you aren’t taking care of yourself, how can you expect to take care of anyone else—at work or home?
Self-reflection is also a necessary part of personal growth, but in a manner that is realistic. Life throws all of us curve balls, but it’s how we respond and how resilient we are in the face of adversity that is most important. Don’t get stuck on previous experiences that may carry with them some level of regret. In my view, guilt is a wasted emotion.
I’m a firm believer that every individual has control over their own destiny. Establishing a personal brand and sharing our unique perspectives with those around us is one of many ways that we can stand firm in who we are, present ourselves in our best light, and support others.