Girl Scout Alum on Creating a Vision for Your Career

Creating a Vision for Your Career

Susan Butler

Girl Scout alum Susan Bulkeley Butler learned a lot about how to develop a business in her illustrious consulting career. Not only was she the first female professional-level employee at Arthur Andersen, the consulting firm now known as Accenture, but she was also the company’s first female partner.

Susan is also the founder of the Susan Bulkeley Butler Center for Leadership Excellence at Purdue University, and the author of Become the CEO of You, Inc., a manifesto on the secrets to her own success, now available in its second edition.

For professional women who want to follow in her footsteps with a career in business, she emphasizes the importance of making a career plan.

“Make sure things happen for you, rather than letting things happen to you,” she says.

Here Susan shares her advice on how to proactively create a road map for the rest of your career—whether you’re just starting out or are already on your way.

1. Assess where you are starting from.

“Start by asking yourself, ‘Who are you now?’ and ‘Where are you now?’” Susan suggests. A realistic assessment of your starting point will help you determine your next steps.

2. Look for advice from people you admire.

“We can’t just do it by ourselves, so you want to get some advice and counsel from others,” she says. “Interview two or three people who are in your career space. It’s just like any company that’s growing—you want to do your research.”

3. Determine your end goal.

“Look around to the people that you look up to and talk to them,” she says. “Ask them, ‘How can I get to where you are, eventually?’”

4. Evaluate what steps will lead you to your goal.

“The biggest questions are, ‘How do you want to grow, and who do you have on your team to help you make it happen?’” she says, adding that you need to establish midway points along the path.

“Think about who you want to be in six months,” she advises. “What are the capabilities and skills you want to have, and how do you get them?”

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