Our #FridayForum featured PRSA Silicon Valley Board Member Netta Conyers-Haynes, who recently joined Sequoia Consulting Group as Vice President of Corporate Communications. She talked about her career, her path to the top, taking a new job (and leaving one) during a pandemic, and lessons she learned along the way.
Netta told us she has always had an interest in communications and believes if you want to become an effective and influential leader, it’s essential to try new things and experience different roles in PR, Internal Communications, External Communications, etc. to find your sweet spot. As for Netta, she enjoys Executive Communications and loves helping bridge the gap between executives and employees.
Netta has an impressive communications career, both working for herself and for several hot companies, including Google, Facebook, Kaiser, Blue Shield, VSCO, and now Sequoia. She also has a wide variety of hobbies that include her family, sports, DIY projects, and photography. (Check out nettagraphs to see the “she shed” she built while searching for her latest role at Sequoia Consulting.)
Netta’s Top Three Tips:
Netta believes that the most important part of a job is developing relationships based on trust and understanding. With this, you can accomplish anything. Next is believing in the company’s mission and what it stands for. Doing so makes it easier to be passionate about a company’s product, service, or initiative. Her key criteria for choosing a company is how supportive it is of its employees. Does the company encourage employee growth and development? If not, maybe it isn’t the right place.
- Mentors and Networking
Netta firmly believes in both being a mentor and having mentor and has leveraged both throughout her career. Networking and staying in touch with your inner circle is also important. “Everyone should have their own board of directors. You have to have a vast circle in your group to lean on, bounce ideas off of and ask for advice,” she said. Netta leverages her board frequently and tapped into it recently during her job search. By leveraging her network, she interviewed for roles that had not even posted yet, but were shared within her network.
- Control Your Narrative
“Write your own story and tell it over and over again,” Netta said. “This helps you control your narrative and tell the story you want to tell. Create a briefing doc for yourself and practice this over time. The same prep you do for others, you need to do for yourself.”
When asked about Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Netta said, “I am hopeful about the progress. I see real effort. But there’s a lot more to be done. Personally, over the past 10 years I’ve made DE&I a priority in each of the roles I’ve had. I find ways to include it in the work I’m doing and the people I’m working with.”
Here’s the link to listen to our November 6, 2020 “How I Got Here” #FridayForum in its entirety.