As Oxford women prepare to leave the university, we are faced with quite a daunting challenge -- choosing a fulfilling and rewarding (and hopefully well paid) career. But as our guest Isobel Carter told us on 4 February 2014, taking the opportunity to explore a variety of career paths can help us find the perfect fit. In her words, "Have a try, and if you don't like it, on you go!"
Ms. Carter, a veritable Jill-of-all-trades, offered OxWIB members an insider's perspective on a wide array of sectors, from fashion to finance. In her discussion, "Careers: Choices and Changes," Ms. Carter highlighted work-life balance and forecast a bright future for Generation Y women in the workplace. She rightly pointed out the pressure young women feel to identify the right career, but reassured us that we oughtn't worry if we don't get it right the first time.
Speaking from her own experience, Ms. Carter is proof positive that there is no single path to success. Starting her career as a fashion buyer at the Marks & Spencer head office, she developed an appreciation for a fast-paced work environment and learned how to adapt to a constantly changing industry. She put those skills to work in her later experiences teaching and performing simultaneous conference interpreting.
After obtaining her MBA from the George Washington University (an educational experience she recommended to OxWIB members!), Ms. Carter put her diverse professional background to work in management consulting. She was able to speak of the perks of working in high-profile professions like consulting and finance, while pointing out the challenges in maintaining work-life balance. Finally, Ms. Carter offered us advice on becoming an entrepreneur, pointing out that being one's own boss is both immensely rewarding and challenging.
It is rare to hear from a leader with such diverse and fascinating career experiences, and Ms. Carter blended her advice with humor and keen insight. She offered OxWIB members a glimpse into the life of a woman who has never let fear of change keep her from achieving her goals. She left us with a final piece of advice -- the idea of change should be normal, not daunting, and Oxford women are more equipped than ever to welcome change with open arms.