“The luckiest thing that happened to me is that I got into banking when banking was investing in people.”
Sharon Daniels cites the role of luck but there is no question that her drive and talent were the keys to her career success. One does not become CEO of a multinational consulting and coaching firm (operating in over 40 countries) simply through luck!
Like several other women we have profiled, Sharon intended to have a career as a teacher. However, when a teaching position didn’t materialize and a banking one did (she had worked part-time and summer-times as a bank-teller) she jumped at the opportunity.
At the bank Sharon benefitted from both formal and informal training and development. Mentoring was not something that was accidental or by happenstance. Individuals were assigned to mentors to hone specific skills. This deliberate approach of having “this person as your mentor to learn these (specific) things” helped Sharon grow into the role of manager.
She recounted the extensive role-playing that a mentor engaged her in to prepare her for the first time that she would have to deliver negative feedback to a “woman who was my mother’s age.” Other managers became her mentor as her career progressed. And of course Sharon began mentoring others.
Sharon believes that most people don’t sufficiently leverage a mentor/mentee relationship; regardless of whether it is an “assigned” or self-selected relationship.