Navigating the Early Career Ladder: Insights and Advice from Professional Women

You can pursue any career and achieve whatever you set your mind to. Everyone is on their own path, but we can all resonate with the fact that we have to start somewhere.

Learning from the experiences of others means to enrich our perspectives with fresh ideas: it helps to strengthen our climb up the career ladder with a strong harness of advice from professional women who our navigating their own journeys.

To offer you some inspiring insights, we interviewed Charlotte Burns, Operations Manager, working mum, and winner of the Everywoman Award 2023, and Rhiannon Livesley, Creative Services and Production Manager, marathon runner, and Mentor for The Girls’ Network.

Both these women have remarkably busy schedules; freight forwarding and agency work both require fast-paced working and the ability to switch professional heads day to day. Read on to find out how these wonderful women manage their time, set, and achieve their goals, and navigate the working world.

How do you measure success?

Rhiannon: ‘I think some people think that if they’re super busy and don’t have time for a moment to themselves then that has been a good day, but for me that is the complete opposite. 

I try and set myself very realistic goals, while always making sure I am pushing myself out of my comfort zone. 

It’s not about saying to my line manager, “where am I going to be in the next 6-months?”, instead, I present to them what I have been working towards and tell them exactly what I’ve done over the last year, and “because of this I deserve ABC” …it’s more of a conversation than ticking boxes’.

We are the home of Female Education and Empowerment

Join our email list (we only send you relevant content) to get content just like this straight to your inbox!

How do you deal with setbacks?

Charlotte: ‘I worked with a company for 18 out of my 21 years in freight; I worked day and night to keep their supply chain going, overseeing the majority of their loads into Scandinavia and Europe. Recently, we’ve had a decline in movements, contacts, and communications from them. I felt like I wasn’t going above and beyond anymore. It took me years to realise these things aren’t personal’. 

Rhiannon: ‘This is a tricky one, because I used to really struggle with constructive criticism, and I would take things quite personallyAs I’ve got more experience, I’ve tried to trust my instincts a bit more and become less worried about what other people think. I think sometimes I’ll have a bit of a talk with myself as a reminder that I got myself here, I’m doing this for myself, and I need to keep going’.

What work achievement are you most proud of?

Charlotte: ‘My first is a personal achievement: which is how much I have grown into my own person and always using my voice in a room full of managing directors, CEOs, and anyone else for that matter. Secondly my work achievements: getting nominated for the Above and Beyond Supply Chain category; attending the Everywoman in Transport and Logistics Awards and winning; taking the trophy north for all women in the industry’.

What came as a surprise to you in the business world?

Rhiannon: ‘What came as a surprise to me was how important the culture of a business is. You spend so much time at work, and I think if you work with good people who want you to succeed it makes all the difference’.

What is one piece of advice you would give to women navigating the early career ladder?

Charlotte: ‘Always use your voice. Don’t be quiet or afraid of the unknown. I’m an introvert and I don’t like meeting new people, but there is a big difference between confidence and introversion and that needs to be recognised’.

The most important takeaway

While the climb up the career ladder can be treacherous and uncertain, it is clear that it also comes with exciting experiences and new discoveries.

The most important takeaway – as cliché as it sounds – is to be wholly and unapologetically, you. Remember that you entered your profession because you have something unique to offer.

Uplifting those around you helps to support your own journey. Professional and personal impact is made by being the change you want to see.

ProspHER can support you in evolving your story and progressing professionally with passion, purpose and power – find out how here.

This article was researched and written by Bronte Littlewood, Freelance writer at ProspHER.

Join our community

Get more information about the community straight in your inbox!

Empowerment & Education

Straight to your inbox!

Get exclusive content, promotions, events and more – all design to support & empower YOU.