Barbara. Accomplishments, Success and Significance

posted June 2nd, 2010 by Janet Graham - Leave a Comment

I asked Barbara to tell me about her proudest accomplishments at work. She said one of her proudest accomplishments is that she has been able to balance her working life with her personal life and have friends and other interests and things in her life.  She said for her that feels like an accomplishment.  She said one of the other accomplishments would be helping to grow a company and add to the success of that company. 


I asked her what she considered to be her greatest success at work. She said two things came to mind.  One is her ability to think objectively. She finds this kind of ironic because most people think of women as being more emotional than men and she finds that a lot of men are far more emotional than women.  She says they bring their emotions into their decision-making a lot more and she feels one of her strengths is that she can be really objective and look at things in a very analytical way and not make an emotional decision.  This strength is what she has been able to bring to most environments, as well as, to transactions or even day to day decision making. She says that’s been a success for her, something that she has been able to bring to the party.  The other thing she brings is being a planner, thinking ahead and being able to anticipate some of the things that have to be done.  She says most of the men she works with are not wired that way, they don’t think ahead and really plan things out.  They’re very focused but it’s tends to be on what’s right in front of them. 


I asked Barbara what she considered to be her work of greatest significance. She said it was her current role which is the position she has been in the longest and as a result the one where she has been able to add the most value over a period of time. She said when you start off in your career, you’re trying to get experience and you learn a lot in the first few years but to really add a lot of value you need to be there a bit longer.  However, once you get up the learning curve, that’s when you can add the most value. 


Barbara said she had had an opportunity in her career to work on several IPO’s and she found those to be very rewarding experiences because you are basically taking a company that’s private into the public arena.  It’s a very different environment and there’s a lot of work that goes into it and it’s a very intense process.  She said there were some challenges to it and a lot of preparation just to get the company ready. , However, once it has been accomplished, it opens up a lot of doors which is the reason people are motivated to do it.  Going public opens up a lot of capital sources that allow the company to grow.  She said she found those experiences to be rewarding; you feel like you’ve really accomplished something. 


She said: “The other thing would be some major acquisitions that have been  transformational for our company.  I’ve had a chance to work on a few of those types of transactions and, again, it’s very rewarding.  It’s a lot of work and even after the acquisition is completed there’s a huge amount of integration to complete but it really does change the company and it was a very rewarding experience to go from looking at it, to doing all the analysis, to doing all the due diligence and then closing it from a legal perspective and then integrating it and making some organizational changes etc.  I found all that to be very rewarding.”


I asked Barbara what is next for her. She thought it was a good question but she said she didn’t have a very good answer. She said she has always been a very goal-oriented person and has set goals for herself every five and ten years, however, she said she could honestly say at this point she doesn’t really have a goal per se other than to continue to add value and work in an environment that she is happy in.  She said she thinks at some point, specific goals are less important and it becomes more about just being satisfied and happy and enjoying yourself and feeling like you’re adding value and you’re in an environment that you’re enjoying.  She said at this point that’s really her goal. 


Barbara said she has started more recently to do more charity work and to become involved in areas she wouldn’t normally be involved in because she wants to continue to grow.  “In fact, the most important thing is to continue to grow and do different things. You can be in a job where the actual job doesn’t necessarily change much but there’s a lot of other auxiliary things that you can do.  In my job, I am responsible for some areas where I still have a lot to learn so I am making much more of an effort to learn more in those areas where I have responsibility but I don’t have a lot of experience. I want to learn more about those areas. What sometimes happens is you tend to go to where you can add the most value but I want to continue to learn.  The longer you’ve been in a company, the more you have to make an effort to learn new things.  If you move to a new company, you’re automatically on this really steep learning curve.  If you stay in the same company, you really have to make the effort to continue to learn and challenge yourself.  It’s easy to get into a comfort zone.  I have focused on not letting myself get into a comfort zone and that’s sometimes what happens when people have been somewhere more than, say, five years.  It can get comfortable and I just don’t want to ever feel like it’s too comfortable because in a situation like that,  I’ll know it’s time to leave.”


I asked Barbara to tell me what she thought people would find most interesting about her story and she said: “I’m not sure they will find it interesting.  I believe there are a lot of different paths and not one correct path or one way of accomplishing or getting to a certain position.  I haven’t taken a completely traditional route because I’ve taken jobs that weren’t the norm or on the normal path that somebody else might take and I think that’s helped me a lot and basically distinguished me because I have had some different types of experience.”


She said: “Another thing which is interesting about my story is I haven’t been afraid to make certain moves.  I have never been afraid to make a move or make a change. I know people that I did my CA with who are still working in the same CA firm and when I was working with them they were talking about leaving but they’re still there today.  They were talking about leaving but they just never did it.  I’ve always taken initiative and if I’m not happy or if I wanted to get different experience I’ve tried to make that happen.  A lot of people will take things as they come rather than thinking it through in terms of where they want to go and what experience they need to get there.”


What Strikes Me?


Most men don’t think ahead and really plan things out.  They’re very focused but it tends to be on what’s right in front of them. 


The most important thing is to continue to grow and do different things.


There are a lot of different paths, not one correct path or one way of accomplishing or getting to a certain position.


Don’t be afraid to make a move or a change.


What Strikes You?


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