Recipe for career success
Nashauna Drummond, Lifestyle Coordinator
Published: Monday | August 17, 2009
Jamaica Gleaner News
At the first
meeting with executive coach Dr Karen Otazo-Hofmeister,
you feel as if you could speak with her for days. She
practises what she preaches, noting that professionals
sabotage their careers by not making a connection with
"They don't connect enough with people within and
outside of their company. You develop trust through
communication. If you keep your head down, no one will
Another common mistake was not getting along with their
bosses. "Learn how to work with your boss, no matter how
awful he/she is, until you get a new one."
Also, don't upset too many people and finally, keep your
subordinates in mind by being consistent and fair.
was the keynote speaker at a forum put on by the Social
and Economic Alliance for Development (SEAD) last
Friday. SEAD is a non-governmental think-tank of young
professionals established to facilitate public
participation and debate social issues. It also
formulates practical solutions to problems we identify
in our communities. Through its Facebook group,
interested persons invest (financial or human resources)
in the solution or change. Entitled 'Invest In
Solutions: Leadership and Responsibility', the forum
focused on how managers can take control of their
careers in an ever-changing world, and how to motivate
their staff during times of economic adversity.
Otazo-Hofmeister has been an executive coach for more
than 20 years. She is also a global leadership expert,
facilitator and mentor of Vital Voices, a
non-governmental organisation initiated by United States
Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, and former
Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. Dr
Otazo-Hofmeister holds a doctorate in human resources
and two degrees in linguistics and languages and the way
they affect how we think. "I wanted to speak many
languages because I wanted to live all over the world."
Her intentions have paid off. She has lived and worked
in England, The Netherlands, France, China, Hong Kong,
Indonesia and India. She speaks English, Spanish,
French, Indonesian and Chinese. "Intention is very
powerful," she explains. "Create your intentions and
things will show up. It's like prayer."
Network, network, network
In 2006 she published her first book, The Truth About
Managing Your Career ... And Nothing But. It contained
60 tips about surviving in business. "Your network gets
you the power you need to do what you need," she says
Dr Otazo-Hofmeister notes that this is especially true
for women. "Central thing for women to get ahead is to
know enough people who network themselves and can
connect you to power. The power rubs off, but don't rely
on one mentor.
Networking is also the key to 'recession proof' your
Work up your network, connect with more people, not
fewer. Think of new ways of doing things in these very
difficult economic times.
Look at your skills so you know what you're capable of.
All good jobs come through networking.
Make sure you're linked to social networking sites that
matter, such as Facebook and Twitter. Keep your name out
Leaders are made, not born
In her second book, The Truth About Being A Leader ...
And Nothing But, she notes that leaders are made, not
born. "Your life experiences shape you." She encourages
persons to take on challenges, even small ones, and to
live or work in another country for six months to a
year. "It changes your work ethic and how you get things
She explains that most persons who are put in positions
of leadership are at first confused about the type of
boss they should be. "They have had good bosses and bad.
There is no model of what leadership should look like."
She cautions that as leaders you are always 'on'.
"Everyone watches you so pay attention to your moods."
So which sex makes the better boss? "Men are better at
dealing with the 'nasties' (antibodies) which can be
because they play sports, they are able to identify bad
players. After a while, women learn to do this but women
tend to be cold because that's how they got there (in
Dealing with stress in a demanding job
1. Don't drink alcohol at night. If you do, make sure
you have some protein so it won't keep you up and you
will be well rested.
2. Notice the time of the month that is most stressful.
At those times, make more time for yourself. Eat well
and keep off caffeine.
3. Find things that de-stress you. Take a walk, listen
to music (while at work).
4. Practise alternative nostril breathing. This is a
yoga technique in which you inhale through one nostril,
hold it, and exhale through the next. It really helps
de-stress the body.