Katrice Albert: Your Passion and Purpose will Guide your Career
Katrice Albert is Executive Vice President of Inclusion and Human Resources at the NCAA. She is a frequent writer and speaker on educational and workforce diversity, gender and dynamics of power, and intercultural competence.
For women just starting their careers or seeking to make a career change, a mentor can play a valuable role. Katrice has had many mentors throughout her life and shares what she’s learned through those relationships, why mentoring is important, and advice for people beginning a job search.
Why are mentors so important professionally?
Mentors might help to socialize you to the culture of your career. Culture is a verb—they assist you by helping you understand the nuances, the unwritten rules, and those things in which you should pay attention. Because work-life balance is illusive, they help you focus on “life at the center of work.” They help you to reduce barriers and hurdles because they give you access to problem-solving with their lived experience. They might also help you think through a path to success in a career progression map.
What did your mentors teach you?
All my mentors helped me understand that purposeful leadership requires a commitment to excellence in all that I touch. Purposeful leadership requires building trust with whom you work and accelerating the “speed of trust” is gained by authenticity and vulnerability. Finally, purposeful leadership requires that you stay ahead of the curve in your field. Visioning and ideation of what is around the corner or bend helps you continue to be a though and action leader in your field.
What’s the best advice a mentor has given you?
- Determine the pressure points or challenges with which your boss is dealing and over-index for problem solving these challenges with innovative ideas.
- It’s all about relationships. Build relationships and nurture them. Foster them. Cultivate them.
- Hire people smarter than you and get out of their way. In other words, hire leaders with great potential and mentor them. When you do, the entire team is successful.
How can people find a mentor?
The key to finding a mentor is determining a person you’d like to emulate. Learn more about their career and life progression, successes, and interesting tidbits. Invite the person to coffee or lunch to ask them directed questions about their career and life success and missteps and things they would have done differently in a difficult work situation. Evaluate if there is chemistry such that a relationship might be developed organically. Create reciprocity by making sure you are giving as much as you are taking.
What advice would you give someone who is starting on their job search?
A career should be a combination of passion and purpose. Employment stops along the way should stretch you to grow and activate your purpose and passion. I have three pieces of critical advice when starting a job search.
- Focus on the accomplishments and successes you’ve had in previous roles. You should be able to speak powerfully about the skills you have and explain the success you’ve created in other roles. You should be excited to communicate to a hiring authority how your past experiences of success can be transferred to your work in their company if given the opportunity.
- Cast a wide net and use your network of colleagues, family, and friends to connect you to hiring authorities. Relationships matter and letting those in your network know that you are seeking new opportunities will lead you to more interesting options.
- Maintain a positive attitude. You’re in the hunt for a new role and you may receive a few or several “no’s” in the process. While disappointing, maintaining a positive attitude and a focus on the future “yeses” will allow you to be your best self when the invitation for an in-person interview occurs.
What about the DFS mission resonates with you?
The mission of supporting women transition to the workplace with high-quality wardrobe items is so remarkable. Successful women have supported me throughout my career — especially offering me critical advice around professional image — therefore supporting others as they grow their professional image and brand is so meaningful.
We all have an outfit or piece that makes us feel confident. What is your power piece?
An unorthodox answer here—red lipstick! I have worn fire engine red lipstick my entire adult life. It is my signature statement and power piece every day! Cosmetics mogul Bobbi Brown said, “Nothing says confidence and glamour like a classic red lipstick.” Yes! Red lipstick my power piece!
Contributor: Jennifer Nelson, Content Specialist at KSGilmore Consulting LLC