Monday Mentorship: A Conversation With Ana Cecilia Torres
Monday Mentorship is an opportunity to learn from a woman who is a leader in her field. We discuss her career trajectory, challenges she has faced or continues to face in her industry, and advice and resources she has for other women. Today's conversation is with Ana Torres. Ana is Clinical Nutrition Director at an outpatient care center in Austin, Texas.
Ana shared two key points that are valuable to women interested in developing leadership skills: self-confidence and preparedness.
We've heard about self-confidence before from Justyna McMillan who discussed self-confidence in light of getting that next step leadership role. Today, Ana shared the importance of self-confidence to build understanding of who you are as a leader. Something she mentions that I hadn't considered before is the challenge of gaining respect for your work and expertise as a young leader and/or as someone who looks young.
She made an interesting point about confidence and perception. As a light-hearted person with a keen sense of humor, Ana acknowledged that those characteristics could be misinterpreted given her age. Therefore, she has reflected carefully on how she wants to present herself in professional settings to those who don't yet know her.
This is an important piece of advice, particularly for young women or women looking to make a career move, about knowing who you are, knowing which characteristics define you as a person and as a professional, and determining how you intend to present yourself as well as how those characteristics may be perceived by others.
Interwoven with self-confidence, Ana's second point is about the power of preparedness. That part of her message really resonated with me because I believe that preparedness is fundamental to professional effectiveness and, in my view, no detail is too small. Ana stated that for her it could be something as small as not having a pen or as comprehensive as preparing for a major presentation.
Either way, lack of preparation not only diminishes the appearance of professional capacity in the eyes of those you serve and your supervisors, it also makes you feel unnecessarily stressed, ineffective, or disappointed. When Ana mentioned preparation, she reminded me of my favorite quote from Oprah Winfrey who frequently talks about being ready for opportunity, saying:
“I believe luck is preparation meeting opportunity.
If you hadn’t been prepared when the opportunity
came along, you wouldn’t have been lucky.” ~Oprah
Do you agree about the importance of self-confidence and preparation? If not, what is the leadership skill or quality that is indispensable for you?