3 ways you can use your Personal Board to empower senior career changes

By Emma Maslen

The concept of utilising your Personal Board is fundamental when taking control of your career direction. Having a regular group of people who can share, coach and aid you with your goals, typically on a one-to-one basis, can help to empower, encourage and enable you to make things happen, rather than passively sitting back and waiting for your next career step.

Research shows that one in four individuals worry they are too old for a new start. It’s no secret that the concept of a career change can leave many individuals feeling overwhelmed and unsure of where to start. This only heightens the importance of seeking support and strategic guidance from those in your Personal Board.

In this article, I am going to explain how you can use your Personal Board to empower later career changes with increased support, access to opportunities and guidance on how to reskill and upskill for your new career path.


Whether it’s a redundancy, disconnection from your current role or a change in personal circumstances, there comes a time when many find themselves at a career crossroads and wonder what to do next. Heightened by the pressure of having already spent years working long hours, undertaking training and gaining qualifications in your current industry to then suddenly questioning your trajectory, career changes can leave many women feeling confused or unhappy.

Leaning into a sturdy and broad Personal Board can help to minimise this worry and formulate that all-important development plan by seeking knowledgeable support. You must have individuals on your Personal Board with whom you feel comfortable speaking candidly about your worries and fears, as well as excitement.

However, this shouldn’t just be family and friends because they are unlikely to offer you completely objective advice or guidance grounded in experience tackling the same challenges. Adding individuals who have navigated a similar career path to you can also help to minimise the uncomfortable fear of the unknown, helping you to move forward with courage and confidence.

Opens up opportunities for networking

Your Personal Board can be a powerful tool for introducing new possibilities. From helping to build a stronger network to sourcing new job roles, using a Personal Board when making mid or late-career decisions can be a brilliant way to connect you to new opportunities.

It is almost impossible to appreciate all the possibilities available, so by seeking advice from individuals with a broad range of experience, you can help to work out those that might work for you now, those that you might need to upskill for and those which might not be a good fit.

Many of these opportunities can be sourced through regular networking. Networking has many benefits for an individual; from gaining a new perspective and getting fresh ideas to developing long-lasting relationships. However, for women, physical networking can sometimes pose unique challenges. More women are carers with evening responsibilities – or feel less comfortable with late-night events and travel.

Organisations should be prioritising accessible networking opportunities for their teams and there are many female-led networking events out there that you could incorporate into your schedule. These are especially helpful for those looking to make a career change as you can build new connections, and discuss relevant and similar experiences with like-minded women. You can also network virtually on platforms like LinkedIn where it is easy to make that initial connection seeking support and guidance.

Gaining knowledge for career advancement

Even with opportunities and support, a career change will still require time to upskill. On average, an individual will have five or six careers in their lifetime, and with each new career comes a review and refresh of your skillset.

A fresh pair of eyes over your current strengths and weaknesses is invaluable for those looking to sharpen their knowledge gaps before making a career transition. Seeking advice from a diverse group of advisors will give you a range of perspectives to incorporate into your plan, but make sure to incorporate unbiased feedback there. You need people who will be honest and hold you accountable with regular check-ins so you remain focused.

If someone on your Personal Board does give you advice, make sure you feedback to them and let them know how their advice helped you acquire a new skill or opportunity. Even better, refer them on to someone else for their next opportunity to complete that loop.

Whilst later career changes can be an overwhelming process, a Personal Board can help to guide you through this transition. Ensuring your board is adapted according to your new goal is vital. By incorporating those who have ‘been there and done it’ you can access tailored support, new opportunities and guidance on how to reskill and upskill for your new career path.

Leaving you to feel empowered, confident, and in control of your career trajectory.

About the author

Emma Maslen is the Founder and CEO of award-winning sales consultancy inspir’em and author of The Personal Board of You Inc. At the age of 20, Emma found a passion for sales and customer success and has since amassed 20+ years in the technology sector, working for household names such as Sun Microsystems, BMC Software, SAP Concur & Ping Identity. In 2019, she founded inspir’em, a sales consultancy, training, and coaching business, helping sales teams and leaders unlock their full potential. Since 2018, Emma has also been a keen angel investor for female-founded businesses through Angel Academe.

For more career tips and advice, check out our dedicated section here.

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