How to care for your career when you’re in the business of caring for other people

How to care for your career when you’re in the business of caring for other people

Wollongong mentee Tayla Arneman is in the business of helping others. As the People and Culture Business Partner at CareSouth, a community organisation support service, she’s charged with looking after the staff who are doing great work to help families, children and carers who’ve been through the foster care system.

“I’m not corporate focused and I wanted to work for a company where I could have a positive impact. I get a strong purpose out of the work that I’m doing at CareSouth,” she says.

As someone who has dedicated their career towards supporting others and making a positive impact on the community, Tayla realised it was important that she took care of herself and ensured that her career development was on track.

The first port of call for her is leaning on the expertise of those within her business, such as CareSouth’s Head of People and Culture, who Tayla says “is one of the most impressive women [she] knows”. To complement this internal support, Tayla was also seeking a place away from work to gain some perspective and learn from people outside her industry. That’s where Mentor Walks came in.

“My motivation to go to Mentor Walks was to take a step forward in my own career. I wanted to do something for me. I’ve been in HR for around four years now and I’ve reached a good position in the company, but now I want to elevate.

“Wollongong is a small town and people are always saying how important networking is, so I thought why not give this a go?”

As someone who already enjoyed building relationships and working with people, the framework of Mentor Walks worked for Tayla. She was keen to meet a bunch of awesome women and to “be a sponge” by soaking up the pearls of wisdom they had to offer.

Understanding your personal brand

Tayla and her group of mentees (which, coincidentally, included one of her friends) were paired up with Gabrielle Browne, Co-Founder and Director at Alpha Vet Tech Solutions. Even thought they both work in completely separate industries, Tayla was grateful to hear Gabrielle’s story and realised there was a great benefit to come from seeking advice outside of your industry bubble.

Learning how to elevate a personal brand was an important lesson that Gabrielle passed on to Tayla and the other mentees; they learnt how to get noticed for the right reasons.

“She got us to think about how we’re interacting on LinkedIn. She asked us to think about how we’d look to potential employers or the people we’re competing with for jobs. It was good to reflect on what makes me different from other people and trying to capture that.

“My friend who was in the group wanted to learn about how to stand out as a lawyer in a male dominated space, and I wanted to know how to stand out in the HR space in general. There aren’t many HR jobs in Wollongong, it’s so highly competitive. My long term career progression plan is thinking about moving to Sydney, eventually. When I do that, I’ll have to know how to stand out in that crowd. That’s where Gabrielle’s personal brand advice was really helpful.”

Since her walk, Tayla says she’s definitely felt much more confident and started being more active on LinkedIn.

“I’ve also made more of an effort to go to local business events and attend workshop seminars in Sydney. I’ve just been putting myself out there a little more.”

Be uniquely you

Gabrielle encouraged Tayla to “be quirky in her approach” and not to lose who she is when promoting herself in a professional setting.

“She told me that I don’t have to be super corporate in order to stand out. I can inject my own personality and humour into it. It’s more natural that way, you feel more authentic. There’s nothing worse than trying to be someone you’re not.

“I’ve noticed that when I’m personable and human with the people in our executive team, it’s just so much easier to build a relationship with them,” she adds.

Now Tayla feels that when the day comes to take that next step by moving onto a new job opportunity, she’ll be well prepared to put her hat in the ring with confidence.

“Mentor Walks is something that I see myself continuing to go to because every time you’re paired with someone new, you’re going to get a new perspective on things.”

She also says it’s really important for women to stick together. “Women who are older than us can pass on so much knowledge. They’ve been through the hard yards, they’ve seen the world and work cultures through a different lens. I’m really grateful to be able to tap into that wisdom and experience.”

Have you booked in for the next Wollongong walk on the 13th of November yet? It’s the last walk for 2019, so make sure you secure your spot.

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