January 30, 2007

I Have Arrived

If you had asked me a six months ago where I was in my career I would have said – midcareer, meaning that I was at a plateau that is a bit frustrating. Midcareer doesn’t mean that you’re stuck but that’s certainly how I felt. What options were open to me, did I have to be in the arts, did I need to be an Executive Director to be successful?

During the summer I was a Research Fellow with Americans for the Arts with a focus on midcareer leadership development. I conducted a national study amongst self-identified midcareer professionals to determine what their greatest challenges and opportunities were in continuing their career in the field of nonprofit arts administration. What I discovered was that the leadership pipeline is underdeveloped. Yet now I think that you have to open it for yourself - which doesn't necessarily mean starting a business. Just having a good hard look at your goal and the possible options.

I’m not sure if it is different here in the UK but I feel that I’ve been pulled through that pipeline. My current position, as Business Development Manager is a post in which I am a key player in the senior management team. My work is self-guided because I have the expertise to know how to progress and positively impact the company. All my skills are being fully utlised and I am learning new ones every day, including leadership, mentorship, coaching and advising.

I applied to pursue a PhD in arts and culture leadership here in the UK and was accepted into the program. But at the same time I didn’t feel 100% inspired to move forward. This past weekend I took an intro to coaching course to explore if corporate and executive coaching would be of interest. I learned helpful skills and methodologies but again, I’m not feeling the push to move in that direction.

After a good talk with Simone I realized that I have arrived. I no longer feel midcareer. I have valuable expertise that I can further develop through reading and perhaps a training course here and there. My toolkit is already really quite well developed. Heck, I could teach some of those courses and have in the past.

Now to have some fun and enjoy living in Europe!