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The Heidi B Show

May 27, 2021

 Professional Development with Jem Millett

After years and years of doing the same work at the same company, we're all scared of getting stuck. We face the risk of stagnation not only in our personal lives but also in our careers. To avoid this, we seek new experiences to improve our skills and become better at what we're doing. Don't be intimidated by challenges and change — they're what push us toward our goals for professional development.

Joining us today is Jem Millett, who has more than 20 years under her belt pursuing her passion in sales and marketing. She is the founder of the Good at Work Club, which promotes professional development. Jem talks to us about the importance of having career development in our professions and tips to overcome the challenges that prevent us from getting there. 

If you’re struggling to avoid stagnancy and achieve your goals for professional development, then listen to this episode and be inspired by Jem and her words of wisdom!

Here are three reasons why you should listen to the full episode:

  1. Discover why professional development is something we look for in our lives.
  1. Learn advice on balancing our lives and facing the hurdles as we reach our goals for professional development.
  1. Find out the biggest challenges between you and a life reaching for professional development.


Episode Highlights

Jem’s Background

  • Jem has always wanted to be an entrepreneur and found she had a passion for marketing and sales.
  • In her experience as a manager, answers from happiness and improvement surveys always include professional development.
  • Jem jumped around different industries and realized that it wasn’t about the industries but about the work itself.
  • There was a need for professional development coaching for workers, and she wanted to address this.

People Want Personal Development

  • Employees have goals for professional development because they don’t want to remain stagnant.
  • They want to know what’s in their future and to become masters at what they are doing.
  • They want to have feedback that they’re doing good, growing, learning, and being challenged.
  • Everyone has goals for professional development.

Where We Can Get Professional Development

  • Conferences get employees excited to implement their learning in their work. However, this motivation is almost always short-term or isn't suitable for everyone.
  • Jem observed that these events are not the right mix and not consistent and specific enough for that person’s long-term vision.
  • So she wanted to provide consistent professional development for every level of employee.
  • Coaching isn’t only for executives. It’s also helpful for people in the early parts of their careers. 

Professional Development Is (Not) the Employer’s Responsibility

  • Society has trained us from childhood to think that development is someone else’s responsibility, from school to college.
  • Many people carry that attitude to adulthood: we think that our professional development is our employer’s responsibility. It’s not.
  • HR may provide learning management system courses and conferences, but they cannot level up your skills.
  • Determine where you want to be in 10 years. From here, identify the skills and goals you need.
  • Determine the skills you’re good at and those that you need to develop.

Tips for Ambitious Women to Achieve Their Goals for Professional Development

  • You’re not alone in having difficulty achieving your full potential at work because of the lack of development. 
  • You should know your values and understand how to use them in your work.
  • Cast your vision and work backward from it. Plan your way towards your vision.
  • Have integrity and accountability. Surround yourself with a community that challenges your blind sports and celebrates your wins.
  • Invest and develop your skillset. Then, identify what’s worth leveraging.

Rethinking Outdated Career Advice

  • One outdated piece of advice is not to challenge authority.
  • If you know or understand something that can contribute to your company, it’s your responsibility to discuss this respectfully.
  • Respectful discussion helps both parties understand each other.
  • Know your value and have the confidence to communicate.

The Biggest Challenge That a Woman Can Face in Career Development

  • It may be difficult to find a sponsor. Be prepared.
  • A business or corporate mentorship is a trusted adviser. 
  • Meanwhile, a sponsor is someone who would speak your name and pull you to the next levels and propel your career forward.
  • Identify potential sponsors, approach them and build a relationship.
  • Exhibit hand-to-heart service. Build and show value, and they will naturally step into a sponsor role.

The Good at Work Club

  • The Good at Work Club answers the call of people who want to achieve their goals for professional development.
  • Here, communities of like-minded women professionals come together and help support each other.
  • There are custom development plans for each individual, weekly updates, and monthly workshops to improve skills and foster development.
  • Jem shares that she wants The Good at Work Club to remain virtual to reach more people. However, she hopes to have an in-person event in the future.

Finding What People Need

  • Jem found out that women need a professional development map that points towards their vision and career. 
  • They want to know if they’re doing it with focus and efficiency.
  • So Jem started to work with clients and their feedback to build the programming as needed. 

How Jem Does it All

  • It's essential to identify your priorities. 
  • Jem likens this to juggling, where you identify which balls are glass and which are plastic. 
  • You don't have to juggle every ball.

Jem’s Daily Non-Negotiables

  • Jem has rituals that focus on paying attention to what she’s doing and habits for subconscious and automatic actions.
  • She has a morning planning ritual that helps her give attention to saying yes or no to the right things.
  • Every Monday, Jem spends the first hour of the day budgeting her time.
  • She makes sure to spend 2 hours each week reading blogs and taking courses for her development.

Jem’s Advice for Women Who Suffered as a Consequence of COVID

  • Research shows that the pandemic could hold women back for two years in their career progression. 
  • Bouncing back is still possible after the pandemic. Don’t give up, and take the time to reflect and discover what you want.
  • Try filling out an ikigai. It’s a Japanese model which looks like a Venn diagram that can help you discover your passion.
  • Be diligent in your career search, spend time to see if you can build something on your own, or try things that can work out for you.

5 Powerful Quotes from This Episode

“They want that feedback that you're doing a good job, and you're growing and learning and you're being challenged. Otherwise, you get kind of bored.”

“It's really important to have integrity, accountability, and a community that can challenge your blind spots and champion your wins. Even the small wins.”

“I really wanted to foster a community of like-minded women, emerging professionals, emerging managers, who wanted to come together and help support each other in their professional development.”

“There's this idea that we have to do it all. But I like to think of things as you're juggling. You need to know what balls are class balls and what balls are plastic.”

“You can't give up hope. You need to hold on and do what you can do. I think this is a great time for you to take a moment and discover what do you really want.”

About Jem 

Jem Millett is the founder of the Good at Work Club, which aims to improve your professional development so that you’re good at work and feel good at work. She has over 20 years of experience in the sales and marketing field and a decade in mentoring and coaching. Jem finds motivation in serving and empowering women to take control of their professional development.

Jem seeks to inspire women to be their best at work, be leaders, managers, and owners who go above and beyond and shine bright. She promotes coaching not only for executives but for everyone, regardless of their position or industry.

If you want to connect with Jem, visit her Linkin or Instagram. You can also go to the Good at Work Club website or check out their Instagram and Linkin to know more.

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To being relationship-ready,

Heidi B