Tips for ambitious young women just beginning their careers

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More and more women are moving on up in their careers these days.

The COVID-19 pandemic did have a negative effect on women more than men, according to statistics.

But, according to Deborah Fairchild, president of Nashville-based VEVA South, there is hope for ambitious young women just starting out who want to make a mark, even in male-centric industries.

Just don’t get discouraged. Face the world with firm determination and the opportunities will be there.Graduation will be here soon, so girls start getting your ducks in a row with your plans for the future.

Fairchild is a prime example

 She started her career as an archival engineer in 2004 and rose to lead the company in all facets of the business, has succeeded in an industry in which women are still under represented.

Here are some of her tips on for those who are just now launching their careers and hope to move up in their organizations.

  • Be prepared to clean toilets. This could be viewed metaphorically, but in Fairchild’s case it was also literal. “When I started as an intern at a studio, I did everything they asked – even clean toilets,” she says. “To pursue a professional career in the music industry, you have to be prepared to pay your dues, starting at the bottom and working your way up. I imagine that’s true for a lot of other industries as well.”
  • Learn from everyone. Formal education is great, and it’s wonderful to have a college degree, but once you’re on the job you will discover how much more there is to learn from watching and listening to other people. Just about anyone in an organization – from the lowest-paid employee to the CEO – has skills or knowledge they can share with you that will prove useful in your career journey. “Whenever you meet someone,” Fairchild says, “Always assume they have something to teach you until they prove they don’t.”
  • Networking is a key, but not the key. Who you know is important. So is what you know. “A strong network will give you opportunities,” Fairchild says, “but your knowledge and capabilities will be what give you a long-lasting career.”
  • Know when to pivot. At every stage of your career, stay sensitive to when it’s time to pivot. The ability to discern when to move on or when to double down will set you apart.

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