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Inspired By: Sally Stetson

Sally-Stetson_120x162“To move ahead, you must be ready to articulate your key strengths. This is not a time to be modest!”

If you’ve ever wanted career advice from an insider, here it is. Sally Stetson, co-founder of executive search firm Salveson Stetson Group, and a member of the Pennsylvania Conference for Women’s advisory council, shares insights every professional woman should know.

Q. What was your defining professional moment?

A: Moving out of the safe haven of a corporate setting and taking the leap to start my own company was a defining professional step in my career. My business partner and I started Salveson Stetson Group with a great deal of thought and planning, feeling we could create an executive search firm that would be successful. At the same time, we did not have a safety net, so it took some courage on our part. Seventeen years later, we clearly made the right decision.

Q: What are the characteristics that you believe defines a great company?

A: A great company is one that has a clear vision, ensures the workforce is aligned with its goals and objectives, and is able to attract as well as retain talent. It is critical to have not only a talented and motivated employee base but also one that is highly customer or client focused, serving as great ambassadors.

Q: What are your top 3 tips for a woman who is ready to make her next career move?

A: It is critical for her to articulate her key strengths and accomplishments in a focused and succinct manner. This is not the time to be modest! Secondly, it is important to develop a robust networking plan, as this process will be the most likely approach to finding her next role. Thirdly, it is critical to be highly visible in the marketplace. Attend professional meetings, ensure your LinkedIn profile is up to date, accept speaking engagements and reconnect with former colleagues whom know you and will most likely want to help you.

Q: What is the top piece of professional advice that you’ve received from a mentor and why do you think that advice still applies to today’s business environment?

A: A former boss encouraged me early in my career to become involved in the community and serve on non-profit boards. She felt that this level of activity not only increased your network but also expanded your knowledge and professional experience. She was absolutely correct, and her advice still applies to today’s business environment.

Q: What is the one thing you make time for in your daily life that helps keeps you refreshed and positive?

A: I exercise and stretch every day. It keeps me sharp, more energized and allows me to manage stress much more effectively. I recently added yoga to my weekly schedule, which also has been a very calming influence for me.

Q: Can you name a leader for whom you have great respect and tell us why?

A: I am very impressed with Ellen Kullman, CEO of DuPont. She has built a successful career working in a male-dominated field, so much so that she eventually became the first female CEO of DuPont. At the same time, Ellen remains grounded in her interpersonal style. I really respect her for continuing to be approachable and down to earth.