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DEAR GRADUATE


What inspired me? Successful businesswomen on magazine covers

By Laura Bari, Manager, Accenture, Milan

 

Wisdom I wish I had when I first entered the work world.

More than 10 years ago, shortly after graduating in business administration at the Ca’ Foscari University in Venice, I joined Accenture, a global professional services company. At that time, the picture I had in my head of the person I wanted to one day become was a bit fuzzy. However, I distinctly remember how fascinated I was by the female managers I heard speaking at conferences–those same women whose images often appeared on the covers of business magazines.

A cover manager! Over time, I came to realize that even though the image was blurred and dreamy, this image spurred me to work toward my career goals: I would become a recognized professional who would make the most of her strengths and help others to grow too.

As the years rolled by, I worked on numerous consulting projects, mostly in the banking area. First, I built up my skills and later carved out a more specialized role in talent management. Fully developing my abilities and deepening my relationships helped me achieve the goals I had set. Becoming a manager was a milestone that gave me immense satisfaction, and I celebrated it intensely. After my promotion, I continued to work in the consulting area where I qualified to simultaneously lead a project within the global Corporate Citizenship program.

"This image spurred me to work toward my career goals: to become a recognized professional who would make the most of her strengths and help others to grow too."

I helped launch the first edition of the corporate citizenship project called “Digital Training Lab.” Now in its eighth year, its goal is to help young job-seekers join the digital professions. Working on this project gave me a great sense of fulfillment and was instrumental in helping me build a network of contacts both within and outside the company.

The hazy image of the female manager on the cover of the business magazine in my mind at the outset of my career slowly became sharper. As she came into greater focus, it became clear that she no longer had the cover all to herself. Today, she has a companion and two daughters: a wonderful little girl and a newborn with an array of unpredictable and emotional needs.

At this point in my life, I have a clearer perception of my priorities. Thanks to the continuous open dialogue I have with my direct superior, I am in a position to understand my goals and deliver what’s needed. Forms of flexible working, such as remote working and part time, help me maintain a rewarding work/life balance.

Perhaps the best way for me to finish off is to share what I have learned up to now:


THE WAY YOU SEE THINGS IS LIABLE TO CHANGE OVER TIME, AND IT’S ONLY RIGHT THAT YOU EVOLVE IN TANDEM.

WHAT YOU LEAVE IN THE PAST DOES NOT GO TO WASTE: DRAWING ON YOUR PAST TO START NEW JOURNEYS IS A STRENGTH.

MAINTAINING AN OPEN CHANNEL OF DIALOGUE WITH YOUR BOSSES ABOUT YOUR NEEDS HELPS YOU ASSESS MORE OBJECTIVELY HOW YOU MIGHT SATISFY THEM. 

WE ARE FAR MORE FLEXIBLE THAN WE MIGHT THINK, AND BEING OPEN-MINDED HELPS US BE MORE COMPLETE.

FOR ME, LIFE BECOMES MORE MEANINGFUL THE MORE IT IS COMPLETE–NOT THE MORE IT IS PERFECT.

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