Top career advice overheard at Expo West 2012

Top career advice overheard at Expo West 2012

As Natural Products Expo West's conference manager, I overhear lots of great career advice from our speakers during the show. And this year was no exception—lots of speakers were focused on helping attendees advance their careers through solid tips. Here are a few of my favorites.

Working in a multi-generational company

Penelope Trunk gave simple, practical advice on "How to Attract and Retain Great Talent." She often blogs on the outdated work environments and expectations seen in a multi-generational company.

"Baby Boomers want the same things Gen Y-ers want: Work-from-home schedules, a casual work environment and a nice boss. The problem is that Baby Boomers don’t expect to ever receive those things themselves, and thus do not offer them to Gen Y employees,” she said. However, Gen Y-ers do expect to have a boss who is nice to them, and to be able to wear jeans to work, and they’ll leave a job that does not offer this.

Frequently changing jobs—good or bad?

Trunk also explained why it’s not a bad thing to change jobs frequently. Job-switching can lead to increased pay, better opportunity and more well-rounded experience. A resume listing brief stints should still be considered. It shows that person is building a network of contacts.

The importance of mentors

Building on the concept of expanding one’s network, the CEO of Yes To Carrots, Inc., Ido Leffler, advised early entrepreneurs during the Expo West Business Program on Thursday, March 8, to “Be seen in the company of those you aspire to become.” Leffler exhorts all entrepreneurs to seek and find mentors who will truly care about your success.

Mentorship was the theme of this year’s Women in Naturals event, on Friday, March 9.. In the warm California breeze under a string of lights, Naomi Whittel of ReserveAge Organics encouraged all women leaders to find or become a mentor to other women in the natural products industry. She recently launched a national organization, DAWN, which stands for Developing and Advancing Women in Naturals.

Also speaking at the Women in Naturals networking event was Cynthia Barstow, president of Seed to Shelf Marketing Firm, who is known at Natural Products Expo for mentoring young women in prominent roles throughout the natural products industry over the past 15 years. Barstow delivered a moving speech on the benefits she has received as a mentor, claiming to have learned far more from her students than she could possibly teach them.

What inspiring advice did you overhear at the show? Share in the comments.

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