Lea H., VP of Design and Web Product Management at Adobe, has experienced a variety of twists and turns in her 23 year-technology career. She’s been a consultant, product manager, application developer, marketer and more. But now she’s taking on one of her biggest challenges yet: heading up a brand new consumer group at Adobe that aims to make design and creativity approachable for the mass market.
As you can see from her career path, she’s never been one to shirk a challenge. The best advice she received came from a nun named sister Leonora who advised “don’t coast through life.” Lea shared, “That has been my own personal mantra that gave me an excuse to have a crazy career path. I feel fortunate to have had that advice early on.”
Lea shared this advice and much more during an Adobe & Women brownbag event this month. Some of her other top advice included:
* Honesty. If you don’t know the answer, don’t make it up. Lea said a big part of her personal brand is authenticity and standing behind what she believes.
* Ask for help. Everyone hits a wall in their career at times. Tap formal and informal mentors for guidance.
* Embrace failure. She said one of the biggest learning lessons in her career was when she launched a product and it didn’t go well.
* Take risks. “If you make decisions based on risk to your career you’ll never make the right decision. It’s not about me or you or the career –it’s about having the guts to move things forward for the business,” she said.
* Surround yourself with different points of view. A key mistake that leaders can make is to have a team that believes exactly what the leader believes. Lea said, “A true leader will put people on their team who won’t agree with you because you’ll always get to a better result.”
* Learn the business. Branch out and get to know areas of the business outside your function. You will benefit from it and so will your team.
What’s the best career advice you’ve received? Share it on our blog. We’d love to hear from you.