Harrison: Managing change and overcoming obstacles while climbing the career ladder - East Valley Tribune: Women In Business

Climbing the ladder Harrison: Managing change and overcoming obstacles while climbing the career ladder

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Sally Harrison was named president and CEO of the Mesa Chamber of Commerce in 2012.

Posted: Saturday, August 3, 2013 2:39 pm | Updated: 12:18 pm, Tue Mar 11, 2014.

A good friend once told me that the only constant is change. There is no truer statement.

I believe change is certainly a good thing. But in my own career at the Mesa Chamber of Commerce, moving from the director of programs, to the vice president of business development, to the president and CEO in the span of about five years has been a little bit of a challenge.

But what is the proper way to professionally manage change?

Managing change, expectations

Fortunately, I’ve learned to ask a lot of questions and not be afraid of making a mistake here and there. Using past experiences as launching pads for new ones and learning to delegate — admittedly not my strong suit — have been challenges, but I am learning to do both more often and to ask others to step up and do more too. I’ve learned to shift my perspective to face challenges head on and overcome hurdles, and to become more disciplined in the process.

I’ve never really felt overwhelmed by my job, but I certainly have felt the challenge of meeting expectations of others. It’s never become too much, however, because of how high I’ve set my goals for myself.

Never stop learning

In January of this year I enrolled in a four-year program called Institute of Organization Management. I have met some great people through the program, and some incredible instructors. Everyone participating is either with a chamber or an association, so many are facing the same issues, challenges and opportunities that I am in my role.

Maintaining perspective

I think back often to that statement my friend said. Change is constant. But knowing that, I’ve learned to become more flexible and to view mistakes as opportunities for both learning and personal growth. learned to put things in perspective and decide what is truly important and what can wait till next week or event next month. And, I’m open to constructive feedback. I appreciate the support I get from our members, our board, our staff, and the community in general. Obviously, I can’t do this job alone.

Editor's Note: Sally Harrison is the president and CEO of the Mesa Chamber of Commerce. As part of this ‘Women in Business’ special section, Harrison is sharing with Tribune readers her insights on career evolution, management style, delegation and learning from past experiences.

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