To stand out you have to step out. Step out of your comfort zone, your area of responsibility, your immediate department, chain of command, or network.
I have often taken advantage of opportunities to quarterback cross-functional projects that are important to the business, but not directly in my area of responsibility—projects that are complex, high stakes, and high visibility. It can be scary to raise your hand, but the ability to stretch yourself, work with new colleagues, and drive a team to results makes it all worthwhile.
Growing and refining your skill set is critical to standing out. People make assumptions about what you can do based on your title, your projects, your resume, or how you arrived at your current position. Engaging in projects or delivering results that are outside that perception only strengthens your professional and personal brand.
On Finding Success and Staying Competitive
It’s critical to stay on top of trends, research and technology, while embracing change. Also, move beyond the desk and out of the office to see trends in action, meet customers, and test your strategies. Online/social media engagement is also key.
On the Importance of Role Models and Mentors
My mother has had a profound impact on my life and career. The youngest of 13 children, she was the first to go to college—teaching me not to be afraid to chart new territory. A Hispanic woman who rose in the ranks of corporate America, she taught me to be proud of my heritage, and worked to change the perception that her accent was any indication of her intellect. She once opened a board presentation by offering them a choice: She would speak in English with an accent or in Spanish with no accent at all! She’s fearless, smart and always herself. That motivates me daily.
Norelie’s Advice to Young Women Starting Careers
Look up. See who is at the top of your desired career or organization, and study what they have done to get there. What’s their educational or career path? Are they active in their community?