2013 – The year of focus | Vanessa Vallely | WATC Founder

focus 2013 Vanessa VallelySo we are here, the long awaited 2013, the hype of the 2012, the Olympics, our temperamental weather and everything else that sailed in what was a monumental  last year is now a distant memory as we plough in 2013.  So now it’s time for focus and thought as to what lies in year ahead, by this I mean goals and aspirations.  I thought I would share a couple of my own for 2013 in the hope it may inspire some of you to make the change and achieve your own career dreams in 2013.

Networks, networks & more networks

My team and I attend networking events approximately twice a week, however it’s our job to do so we can share with you the best networks and events to attend.   Did you know there are over 700 female networks in London alone, too many choices, and how do you know which one to attend !  We have done the hard work for you, check out our networking directory here http://www.wearethecity.com/networking-groups/.   These networks are a perfect way for you to up skill &  build your network, either from a corporate perspective or as an entrepreneur.

My absolute pick of the bunch is Women in Banking and Finance for those in the Finance sector or the European Professional Network for Women.  If you are an entrepreneur, The Next Women and Women Unlimited are fab networks for those starting up.  Further afield, there is The Network of Aspiring Women & Forward Ladies.  If you are global travellers, why not check out Costa Women or Heels and Deals.   Most of these groups have Linkedin groups as well so don’t have to be in these countries in order to benefit from the wealth of connections and information they have to offer.

Women on Boards

At last, I have found an organization that seems to be able to map out what it takes to be on a board, www.womenonboards.co.uk .  This organization have been running a number of Open days for those that are interested in pursuing Board positions to enhance their careers.  If this on your agenda, but not for another 10 years,  a good place to start before thinking about a board position is as a trustee of a charity, see links below under Giving Back.

Building your profile – Let’s get up to date

January is the time to ensure that your career armoury is in tact.  This means reviewing your CV and removing the stuff that is no longer relevant, updating your Linkedin Profile and asking for (and writing) those overdue recommendations.   Writing yourself a short bio or summary CV is also another good way to capture your key achievements.  One thing that people sometimes forget to do is ensure they have decent headshots.  At the end of last year I also invested in decent headshots, these are massively important especially in the world of social media.  I used a gentleman called John Cassidy, otherwise known as the Headshot Guy, http://www.johncassidyheadshots.com/.  I was very pleased with the results and he made me feel very at ease in front of the camera.  Whilst I appreciate this is a significant investment, if you are serious about raising your profile, decent photos are a must.

Setting Goals

Everyone sets goals differently.  Every year I complete a template which details the things I wish to achieve.  I then work out what I need to do and who can help me.  I then set about completing the gaps so I achieve my goals.  I also add a strategic goal as sometimes many of my goals will move me further towards my long term strategy.  If you want to download a copy of my (not too fancy template), click here  – alternatively, if you need a bit more help setting goals, please register for one of my monthly sessions (see below) where I will discuss goal setting in more detail.

Giving Back

At WeAreTheCity we have a culture of giving back, both through our site and through imparting our skills.  There are a number of organisations and charities that are crying out for the skills we take for granted (be they business or corporate).  If you are interested in doing something for your community, be it a trustee position on a charity or as a school governor, please check out the links below.

Changing Jobs or seeking new opportunities

We now have thousands of jobs on our sister site, www.careerscity.co.uk – if you are feeling like it is time for career change, please visit our site.  Remember, if you do not see a role that suits, you can register for job alerts.  We are hoping that Careers City will become the “go to” site for Women seeking new roles from firms who really encourage Women in their careers, please help us spread the word to any job seekers you know.

 And now to share my own 2013 Goals…remember, what cannot be measured doesn’t get done !!

Writing a book

This year I have decided to write my book, a tale of corporate life and now to navigate those challenges.  I am calling on my 23 year experience in the hope it will help future generations of talent overcome some of the career obstacles I faced in my career.  I have chosen http://www.bookmidwife.com  to help me stay on track.  I am really looking forward to starting the programme and hopefully I will finally see my book in print later in 2013.

Giving Back – Volunteer Mentor Trip

Every year I embark on a trip overseas to give back with my mentees, this year we are off to Bangalore and Mumbai to work with a number of children and HIV charities.  We will also be speaking with Corporate and entrepreneurial Women as well as working with young girls in schools.  If you are interested in a future trip, please let us know here [email protected].

Growing WeAreTheCity and Careers City

We are already the biggest website for Women across the City, but we want to do more to raise awareness of the wealth of opportunities that exist for Women in terms of their personal progression and careers.  Over the next few months, our focus will be about raising our brand and branching out to other Women in other countries.  To this end, you will see and hear a number of advertising initiatives such as our radio campaign on Heart and LBC and by mid year our Tube advertising campaign.    However, we also need your help too, if you like the information you receive from us or know a potential job seeker, please let your friends and colleagues know about our sites.

Speaking to WeAreTheCity members – Monthly Webinars

I am planning to run a series of evening Webinars each month, these will be open Q&A sessions for our members only.  During these sessions I hope to be able to help you with career advice, networking opportunities, potential connections & inspirational tips.  Sessions will be limited to 30 attendees to ensure maximum value – please email [email protected] to register your interest, typing Webinar Interest in the title.

Vanessa Vallely



About the author

Vanessa Vallely is co-Founder of WeAreTheCity, The Network of Networks and WeAreTheCity India. Vanessa is a speaker and author of Heels of Steel. Vanessa sits on the board of Women in Influence. Vanessa won the WIBF Champion For Women Award 2011, she is a Progress 1000 winner and Financial News Top 100 winner. Follow Vanessa on Twitter

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