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Sprints and Marathons

Posted by: Jessica

Upon joining the Women in Business conference committee, I was informed that this year’s theme would be ‘Sprints and Marathons- A Sustainable Career.”

A sustainable career, I wondered? What exactly did that mean?

I was eager to delve into this question further. Initially, my thoughts went to the obvious: sustainability must be related to green careers or corporate social responsibility, mustn’t it?

For a conference that aimed to address a multitude of important issues, this just seemed too narrow.

I next turned to the dictionary, looking for a broader definition:
“sustainable ”, it read, “Able to be maintained at a certain rate or level; Conserving an (ecological) balance by avoiding depletion of (natural) resources; Able to be upheld or defended.”

The word was starting to resonate with me in a new way. I had recently joined the full-time London Business School MBA with the aim of redefining my career and long-term goals. Having worked for seven years previously, I was at a crossroads, ready to make choices that would give my career forward momentum and continuity.

Embarking on this MBA, I was well aware that I was at a stage in my career and life where the decisions I made now could impact me for decades to come. I had often wondered how I could be sure that my professional choices would keep me satisfied for 30 or 40 years? And if they didn’t, how could I ensure my brand was strong enough to afford me options and mobility? How could I avoid burning out? How could I ‘have it all’? Or, using the language of the dictionary, how could I maintain a long and successful career? How could I conserve my resources – my energy, my mentors, my brand – to avoid depletion? And, how could I uphold my choices and be confident they were the right ones professionally and personally?

These three words – A Sustainable Career – had been transformed. I understood that they captured so many questions and issues relevant to each of us paving our way in a changing global business world.

Tomorrow, at the Women in Business Conference, I, along with 300 other attendees from London Business School and the greater professional community, will finally enter into a discussion on this topical theme.

Led by an extraordinary lineup of keynote speakers, such as Jo Malone MBE (Founder/Director, JO LOVES), Amanda Sourry (EVP, Unilever UK and Ireland) and Estelle Brachlianoff (EVP/Director, Veolia Environnement), we will have a unique opportunity to benefit from the insight and expertise of these inspirational women. They have navigated their own tricky professional paths and will be able to serve as guides for us, marking signposts we should look for on our way and giving guidance on routes to take or avoid.

We will also interact with panels of top businesswomen who will share their views and experiences. Armed with questions, we will probe this robust topic, seeking out the advice and pearls of wisdom that feel personal and applicable to each of us.

And of course, what conference would be complete without networking opportunities? Surrounded by a diverse group of like-minded, ambitious, successful businesspeople from London and beyond, we will challenge, converse and connect with one another, hopefully coming out of the day, with practical tools, fresh perspectives, and new networks – all resources that will help sustain us as we strive forward in our careers.

I personally can’t wait!

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