Donna. Accomplishments, Success and Significance

posted February 25th, 2010 by Janet Graham - Leave a Comment

I asked Donna to tell me about her proudest accomplishments at work. She said she found it a hard question to answer. Specifically, she said: “I’m proud of how far I’ve come in the industry and the fact that I’m running a department that produces a lot of revenue.  There aren’t a lot of women doing what I do and so I hope I’m a role model for women that want to combine success at work with children and a family. It’s been hard work but I’ve also been very fortunate to have the opportunities to do what I’ve done.”


I asked her what she considered her greatest success at work. She said she thinks her greatest strength at work is her ability to bring people from different areas, different backgrounds and different personalities together and get to a conclusion; to get everyone working on the same page and moving forward.  That’s something she thinks she does well, being collaborative and getting people with diverse interests all going in the same direction. 


I asked Donna what she considered to be her work of greatest significance and she said: “My kids and my family are my most significant accomplishment. Other than that, I think some of the volunteer work that I’m starting to do is as significant as my paid work.  My work is fun and exciting and creates great results for the company but I think it’s as significant that I volunteer and raise money for good causes.  It’s very different but it’s as significant, I think, and probably more so in terms of impact generally.”


I asked Donna when she considered her career in its entirety what she would do differently, if anything. She said she wouldn’t do anything differently.  She said she has been very fortunate in her career because she was able to find a niche that worked.  When her kids were younger she was able to take a sabbatical and be at home for a while.  And she was able to re-enter the workplace.  She said if there was something she would do differently, she would have networked earlier on in her career.  She thinks she only came to the understanding of how important networking was gradually. She says, she would have made a bigger effort to keep up her network when she took her sabbatical. She thinks a lot of young people don’t see the benefit of having a network, especially when everyone’s so busy in the early stages of their careers but she would have done it a little differently. She says she still would have left law; it was still the right decision for her.


I asked Donna what’s next for her and she said she didn’t know. However, she said she thinks one important thing in life is to keep your mind open to opportunities and different ways of doing things and that includes when to leave a job, when to take a sabbatical, when to jump back into work.  She likes what she does but she is sure she will do other things going forward over the years but she has not been someone who’s ever had a life plan.  She thinks it’s really important to keep your eyes open for opportunities; it will take you in the right direction but you can’t necessarily plan it.


I asked Donna what she thought people would find most interesting about her story and she said it would probably be the fact that she can manage four kids and a challenging job.  She says that’s the one thing people are most surprised about.  She says: “I think I’m a good role model for women that want to have a long career in the financial services industry. I wonder whether people would find it surprising that I openly talk about the fact that it’s sometimes hard to do as opposed to being easy. In the end, you can have four kids and you can do all this and maybe people would find it surprising that I’ve loved it.  I wouldn’t change any of it but it’s not all easy and the difficulties are not just related to managing four kids and a family.”


What Strikes Me?


It is very important to establish and maintain a network


Keep your mind open to opportunities and different ways of doing things


Sometimes, we have a hard time acknowledging our greatest accomplishments and successes


It’s important to talk openly about things being hard at times


Volunteer work and community service can be profoundly rewarding


What Strikes You?


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