Your personal advisory board: The secret to a great career

A personal advisory board can advise, counsel and champion you through all stages of your IT career. Here’s how to create your own.

Your personal advisory board: The secret to a great career
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For all the talk of needing a mentor, what might benefit your career most as an IT leader is a personal “advisory board,” says Teena Piccione, global CIO and executive vice president at RTI International. A personal advisory board is a group of five or six professional connections who can advise, counsel and champion you through your professional career, rather than a single person in the case of a mentorship.

“The IT industry has changed and has become more solutions-focused with greater emphasis on people and relationships,” Piccione says. “It’s really gone ‘back to basics’ and if tech companies are trying to find new talent, especially at the executive level, it’s less about the bottom line, money, the numbers and more about the relationships that are built; finding people who are the best value, who have a known ‘brand.’”

Whether you like it or not, you’ll have a reputation in the world of work, Piccione says, so it’s important to make sure it’s a good one and that you have people willing to sing your praises and help you forge new connections and networks, she says. While mentorship and sponsorship remain important, your advisory board can serve the same purposes without the stress or pressure of a formal, structured, multi-hour commitment.

“Many people will turn down a mentorship role, because they feel like it takes time,” Piccione says. “Time that they may not have. But if you ask someone if they could give you a couple minutes here or there; if they could respond to a text or quick email or call on the way to work. It’s the relaxed, informal relationship that can fit into their schedule — most people will not turn that down. That’s another benefit of these ‘advisory board’ roles — they’re quick.”

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