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Changing my Career: Squads Made All the Difference

Changing my Career: Squads Made All the Difference

What has changed in your career since joining a Squad? 
My original intention in joining a Squad was primarily to focus on getting outside my usual circle of people. I was working for a very large, stable corporation and most of my mentoring and networking happened within that company. I reached a pivot point where I was no longer challenged in my role and did not see continued opportunity for growth. I decided to set a goal to spend more time engaging and learning from people outside my own industry. My Squad became less of a networking group and more of a sounding board space for evaluating items of focus in my career. As a group we became a “think tank,” gathering ideas for how to grow our businesses, make a career change, or tackle an obstacle at work (or even at home). I looked forward to meeting with my Squad weekly and appreciated learning from women across varied industries and backgrounds.

Through Squads, I personally gained the courage to make a career change and was able to navigate the transition successfully, including the contract negotiation phase.  The relationships you make in your Squad do not have to end when the meetings do; I still meet in person or online with some of the women from my first Squad and I plan to do the same with the second Squad I joined.

Through my Squads experience, I learned the following: 

  • I'm willing to take more bold moves and ask for more.
  • I developed a greater understanding of different industries.
  • I gained the insight and confidence I needed to negotiate a major career change and handle that transition effectively.

Why did you decide to raise your hand to be a Squad Mod? And what has the experience taught you?
I was approached to lead a Squad by Samantha (who runs Ellevate's Squad program). I had just transitioned into a new role and had a lot of time constraints, so I was hesitant at first. I thought about how much value I received from my first Squad experience and didn’t want to deprive others of the same opportunity.

I did not know what to expect as a Squad Mod but Ellevate has provided me with training and resources to make the transition into the role simple and easy. The experience was different from my first Squad experience; the first time around I intentionally went to meetings for my own benefit. But as a Squad Mod, my focus shifted to really focus on making the experience beneficial to the whole group. It was my job to make each conversation meaningful and help each members get what they hoped for from their Squads experience.  

The experience has reminded me that there is always time for personal development no matter how busy and it should be a dedicated focus for all professionals to continue to learn from each other, develop and reflect.

What advice do you have for first-time Squad Mods? 
There are so many helpful resources that Ellevate provides to help you succeed. Dedicate at least 30 minutes to an hour weekly to prepare for each Squad meeting. If you have been in Squads before or have resources that can assist your group with decisions they are making (contract negotiation, creating connections, leading a specific type of project etc.) bring those forward.

Be available, authentic and create a confidential space where participants feel comfortable sharing and asking for feedback on the issues most central to their lives personal or professional.

Have more questions? Follow up with the expert herself.


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