Women in the workplace are known for working twice as hard as their male counterparts. Beyond their expertise or academic credentials, women often feel the need to go the extra mile—some would even call it being overzealous—at work. Yet and still, many women do all of the work and get very little—or none—of the shine.
One helpful solution for women having that experience is to partner with a career coach. Career coaches help professionals make their goals more tangible as they pursue their dreams. That is why Black Enterprise offers complimentary executive career coaching every year at the Women of Power Summit.
Each year, we bring some of the most sought after coaches to help Women of Power attendees power up so that they can take their career to the next level.
Meet Ericka Spradley
Ericka Spradley, Chief PowHer Officer of Confident Career Woman is one of our esteemed coaches. Spradley is an author, interview trainer, former hiring manager, and career readiness adjunct professor who exists to help organizations improve their bottom line through talent retention and professional development.
As a results-oriented coach, 80% of her coaching clients land their dream job. And this year at the Summit, Spradley will be partnering with women to help them level up. She will also be facilitating the highly anticipated workshop, Visibility Breakthrough: Stop Doing All of the Work and Getting None of the Shine. After working 18 years in corporate America, Spradley was inspired to pivot into entrepreneurship after reading Black Enterprise. Now she is helping others do the same.
We spoke with Spradley before the Summit about her journey and what women can expect as a result of receiving coaching and attending her workshop.
Tell us about your journey to becoming a Women of Power coach!
I found myself at one point in my life questioning what was I going to do professionally? And what I was going to do with the rest of my life? I knew I wanted something different, and I could not articulate it. But, it started with Black Enterprise. I started reading the magazine and thought, hmm, entrepreneurship, I’d never really thought about it before because most of the people in my family worked for someone else.
I was in retail for 18 years and I transitioned into banking without a degree. Shortly after, I started my business. Ever since I started coaching, I recognized that the majority of my women clients share the same struggles; which is we don’t ask for what it is we want. And sometimes the culture doesn’t invite us to do that.
Coached for success
What was it like bringing your expertise to the Women of Power Summit last year as a coach?
I didn’t graduate from college until I was 40. So, being able to help women who are more educated than myself who have achieved a level of success that I didn’t, but still stand in the background and push them to the forefront and increase their visibility to help them get hired and strategically manage their career -—and to be able to do that with Black Enterprise was a dream come true.
My story is nontraditional. And I try to share it as often as I can so that it will encourage other people to just believe in themselves enough to take the first step. When you do, it opens up so many opportunities. And those opportunities for me include Black Enterprise. It includes an adjunct professor role. It includes three books. It includes online career courses, it includes partnering with corporations.
It also includes now being a facilitator of a workshop, Visibility Breakthrough: Stop Doing All of the Work and Getting None of the Shine, at Women of Power. How are you preparing so that women can come to the Summit and leave with some real ways to get the shine?
One of the things that I’ve been tossing around is how I can leverage the actual letters of ‘shine’. One of those letters is the letter ‘I’ — I want to speak to the women about unleashing intrapreneurship to increase their visibility. Steve Jobs was talking about intrapreneurship in the ’80s. Here it is in 2020, and we as women are not talking about it enough. An intrapreneur is someone whose leadership style integrates risk-taking and innovative approaches combined with the reward and techniques typically associated with entrepreneurship. I want to encourage these women to think about the work that they do, and really look at it as if they are the CEO. I want to talk to them under the umbrella of intrapreneurship around mastery and metrics as a way to do the work in such a way that it increases their visibility.
Get the shine
What advice do you have for women who are doing all of the work so that they can shine?
The first thing I would suggest is to not get bogged down in the work. Look at the ways you’re doing the work and really do a quick assessment. Ask yourself, is this the most effective and impactful way to get this work done? Do you need to delegate tasks? Do you need to partner with someone else so that you can create time and space to have those conversations with those in your network so that you can partner with those who will advocate for you? Think innovatively about ways that you can still get the work done, partner with others and create time and space in your day to partner with others to increase your visibility.
I would also say make sure that you track your impact. Take 5 to 15 minutes each week. Track your results, track your accomplishments. Keep an ongoing document and at any point in time, you can refer to that document so that you can speak to the results that you bring. That way you’re always able to have the necessary business conversation whether that is performed conversations, interviewing, or simply having a conversation with your leader, your leader’s leader, or anyone else in your network. So you want to track your impact.
And last, but certainly not least, I would encourage women to leverage power talk. And by power talk, I mean ask yourself what is the impact to the company. Understand the company’s goals and metrics used to measure progress. Be able to articulate and paint a picture of the return on investment as well as the risks of you not taking action. And then, communicate what the person needs to know—not what you want them to know—and stick to the facts.
If you want to take your career to new heights, meet us in Vegas March 5-8 at the Mirage for the 2020 Women of Power Summit.