Hayley McLaughlin
Ogilvy Influencers
Lessons From The C-Suite

At a recent Manhattan Chamber of Commerce event, Ogilvy Worldwide Chief Communications Officer Jennifer Risi joined Hope King, anchor from Cheddar, on stage for a discussion titled “Lessons from the C-Suite.” Their discussion covered a range of topics from how Jennifer got to where she is today to advice she has for anyone looking to advance their career (at any stage) or trying to manage a team.

Whether you’re looking to grow your career or help others advance theirs, here are a few key lessons you can apply:

Sometimes it’s OK Not to Have a Career Plan

All careers have a unique trajectory. After graduating with a degree in psychology from Barnard College at Columbia University, Jennifer accepted a job in public relations because it seemed interesting, and then fate ran its course. Sometimes you just have to jump in, do the work and have faith that you’ll find the job you were meant to do.

Be Comfortable with Failure

Jennifer’s advice to those who have made a mistake? Own it. Ask how you can fix it. Move on. What’s the worst that could happen that hasn’t happened already? It’s important to acknowledge when you’ve failed, because that’s how you learn. As long as you own the mistake and show you’re willing to fix it, you’ll come out on top eventually.

Embrace Feedback and Give it Freely

Everyone receives feedback they don’t agree with at some point, but you have to be able to listen to it without being defensive, and accept it’s being given for a reason. Embrace the feedback as an opportunity to grow and look at yourself with a new perspective. And when you give feedback, you need to be honest and allow others the opportunity to do the same.

Find a Sponsor Within Your Company

Having a mentor is important, but having a sponsor is perhaps even more so. Mentors help you build your career, but sponsors advocate for you. Sometimes a mentor and sponsor can be the same person, but it’s important to build a network of people who will advocate for you, even when you’re not in the room, and help to make sure that others understand how much of an asset you are to your company.

…But Don’t Be Afraid to Be Your Own Advocate

At the end of the day, half of the secret to moving forward in your career is the work you do. The other half consists of the relationships you build. You have to be able to be your own brand ambassador – don’t be afraid to let people know what you do and let them see the value you bring. It’ll help you out tremendously in the end.

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