Tuesday, November 16, 2010

What’s the Deal with being Different? Written By Neha Mukherjee-Nathani

“Diversity” has become a hot, catchy, buzz word in the business world today. From recruiters to managers to consultants, everyone is looking for a “diverse” workforce, but what does diversity really entail? And, perhaps more importantly, what do we do with our diverse backgrounds? RAMS recently put together a panel of four talented, experienced and insightful marketing professionals, all from unique cultural and experiential backgrounds, who talked how to best leverage your unique value offering as a candidate. Garfield Stoute, (NPI Operations & Product Lifecycle Management at Avaya,) Debra Albert, (COO at Sequent Learning Networks,) Fernando Ferrer, (Director of Marketing, Oncology at Celgene,) and Eduardo Niete (Director of Marketing, Oncology at Electio Consulting) spoke about the attributes of leadership that any candidate should cultivate and how to communicate these.

Among other insight they shared was advice to:

  •        Be open to difference and maintain a genuine curiosity to all things new or different.
  •       Think broadly; bringing in the opinions of different groups of individuals brings a different perspective on any issue, giving you a broader perspective on the problem.
  •      Always seek mentors who will always give you honest feedback – they will be your biggest critics and allies.
  •       Communicate respectfully and honestly – share with your team members and be open to hearing criticism and feedback in return, this will help you grow.
  •      There might be times people don’t trust your judgment simply because of your background or experiences, but be patient and engage them respectfully.
  •      In order to overcome the “glass ceiling” determine how and where you can add value to the firm. You should have a development plan in mind that charts out your organization within the firm and where all you will add value to the firm’s growth.
  •      Take advantage of networking opportunities: once you’ve proven you can get the job done, it’s all about building relationships. Never be intimidated to approach a senior member of the firm simply because of their title.
  •        Integrate your knowledge of diversity into your input: you have a specialization of knowledge and experiences, don’t hesitate to add input from this intelligence.
This forum was not only a chance to get real-world, practical insight into managing our careers but also an opportunity to learn the value of our unique selling points. Yet more evidence that these networking and learning opportunities sponsored by student clubs such as RAMS are not-to-be-missed!

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