Top ten things I learned from attending the AAMC Mid-Career Women Faculty Professional Development Seminar

by Brenda Rongish, PhD

  1. Express ideas clearly and with conviction. Don’t use qualifiers such as “I think” or “I feel” when stating an idea. Don’t express your thoughts as questions, i.e. “Do you think we should…..?
  2. Promote team approaches and team members. Advance and acknowledge each other’s skills and contributions. Train your successor on a team so you can move onwards and upwards.
  3. Be active, not reactive. Prioritize 1-2 things each day you want to accomplish and work on them BEFORE you open your email and respond to everyone else’s agendas.
  4. Say “Yes”. Agree to additional duties only after asking clarification questions and if necessary, with conditions regarding your time commitment or “must have” resources.
  5. Have a 5 year vision/career map. Choose your committee assignments accordingly to help you build the skills and networks necessary to work towards your goals.  
  6. CREATE your own opportunities. Have a unique skill set? See a gap in services provided? What position might you create for yourself that will serve the needs of your organization?
  7. Prepare an “elevator speech”.  If you have 3 minutes to tell your colleague, neighbor, chair, what you have accomplished recently have your “speech” ready. Instead of discussing the weather, use the opportunity to promote yourself or your agenda.
  8. Use descriptive words with caution. When describing colleagues or writing reference letters for women, stress their productivity and outcomes over their personality traits.
  9. Listen to your inner voice. But make that voice POSITIVE. Engaging in positive “self-talk” allows one to consider each challenge as an opportunity and improves performance.
  10. Stop saying “I’m sorry”. Do not say “I’m sorry” unless those two words can be replaced with “I apologize”. If you didn’t do it don’t claim responsibility! i.e. don’t apologize for the weather, someone’s illness, the fact that a project is due, etc.

Last modified: Nov 26, 2012