Speaking at a MetLife Women in Business event, our Chief of Staff and External Affairs Wendy Tse and Chief Insurance Officer Meray El-Khoury provided insights into their career success, what it means to be a leader and the importance of sponsors. Here are their top six tips for women wanting to get ahead.

1. Leadership is about vision. It’s important to capitalise on opportunities that shape the future and be purposeful, says Wendy. Leadership is also about people and taking them on a journey because the reality is every organisation is always in transition. Meray concurs that leadership is a journey, saying that the role of a leader is to get people to buy into a vision and the ‘why’ of what the company is doing. Give people trust, she says, and allow them to flourish.

2. Leaders can’t be specialists, says Meray. Don’t fall into the trap of trying to be the specialist and leader at the same time, she says. This is particularly challenging as you are moving up in your career. Leadership is about vision and trusting others to execute.

3. Stop and smell the roses, says Wendy. Make sure you make a list of all your accomplishments because everyone is busy and we need to have a reminder about what we have achieved, she says. Have compassion for yourself and others and consciously dial down the ‘Negative Nora’ and back yourself, she says.

4. Invest in yourself. Your personal brand is critical, says Wendy. Personal brand encompasses your values and it applies to personal and professional life as it defines who you are and how you will face the challenges that life presents. Wendy says her personal values centres on the acronym ‘ACDC’:

  • Adaptability – always be adaptable and accountable for everything you do;
  • Commitment – if you say you’re going to do something, do it;
  • Discipline – vital for both your personal life and career;
  • Capability – always develop and invest in learning new skills.

5. Keep communication channels open. If there’s going to be an issue, says Meray, she wants people to come to her quickly and let her know there’s a problem. She says accountability and communication are core to who she is, and that it’s part of her ‘brand’ that she’s accountable and true to her word. Wendy agrees, saying keeping communication lanes open to the people you are accountable to is critical.

6. Network. Go to networking events, talk to people, do your homework, and know who is important and influential, says Meray. Be very deliberate about having a conversation; it’s important to be bold because people are generally very welcoming, she says.

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