The Holly P. Podcast - Erica Sander - Trinity Industries
Updated: Mar 7
After 12 years in the mortgage industry, Erica Sander wanted to pivot careers. She took a role as an Executive Admin and worked her way to Manager of Government Relations. Tune in to hear her story. (see video link at the bottom of this blog)
Erica's Story: In today's interview you will hear Erica tell how her career in the mortgage industry left her unsatisfied and ready for change. After seeing a Linkedin post from a friend for an Executive Admin position, she reached out to see if she could apply for the job. Her friend helped her get the interview, but that did not guarantee her the position. In her job interview, they asked her questions about certain governmental structures she didn't know the answer to, her reply was, "You can ask me any mortgage regulatory question, anything to do with the finance, I can answer those, because that is what I specialize in. What you specialize in, I am not fully aware, but I know I can learn it and I will learn it."
Holly's Takes: What I loved about her answer, is its raw honesty. Sometimes there is a pressure to provide the "perfect" answer and to know the answer to all of the questions that are asked in an interview. However, sometimes, its not about knowing the right information, but its about showing your potential future boss, who you are. Will you cave under pressure and white lie or get defensive or will you own what you know and what you do not know? Are you willing to dig in and learn? Are you humble and teachable? These attributes are reflected in the answers you give.
Erica's Story: Erica was hired as the Executive Admin and took the bull by the horns and begin to learn. She went out and bought the "For Dummies" books that was related to anything Government. She was able to show her boss that she is willing to learn. One thing she suggested when you are the new person at work, ease into it and get to know the landscape. Don't come in and try to make changes right away. Get to know the company and let them get to know you. Develop that trust with the people you work with.
Holly's Takes: So many times, there is an internal need we have as people to show everyone how good we are or to prove that we bring value to the company. However, a job is like any other relationship, think of a new friendship. If you start giving advice before you have gotten to know the person, your advice may not be helpful and probably won't be well received because there isn't that trust factor there or that history to know why they are making certain choices. Same with a new job. You need to understand, why certain processes are in place because in the end, you will be able to more effectively communicate why your new way of doing things brings value and ease to the workload of the team.
Erica's Story: Erica talks about aligning yourself with two kinds of people, a Mentor and a Champion. She describes a mentor as someone who helps you at your company. They will take you under their wing to help you understand the company and its needs and help you navigate your career within that structure. A Champion is someone who you may have a deeper level of trust where the relationship is a little more personal in nature. A Champion will be able advocate for you and get you to the next level.
Holly's Takes: You may actually have someone at your current company that is being a mentor to you and you don't even realize it. In the book, Lean In, the author (Sheryl) talks about people often failing to realize they are being mentored because it doesn't come with an "official" mentor label. There was a woman she had invested a lot of time in her career development, so Sheryl was surprised when the woman stated she had never had a mentor. When Sheryl asked what she meant by a mentor, the lady responded with, that it would be someone she spoke to for at least an hour every week. A mentor doesn't need to always have a label, but a mentor can be anyone who has invested time helping you grow.
Erica's Story: I asked Erica, what attribute or character quality does she feel has contributed to her success. She points out that she aligned herself with Champions and Mentors and that has helped her career. The other things she mentions are:
1) Being willing to take a risk
2) Don't be afraid to take a step down
One must be willing to take strategic steps backward in order to go forward.
Holly's takes: If you are looking to pivot, think of your career like a car on a road that has reached a dead-end. In order to go forward, the car must be put in reverse to re-direct it, so it can reach its intended destination
Holly's Final Thoughts: In order to be successful in life we have to be doers. Risk is scary, but necessary. You will never achieve your dreams without risking something. Put good people around you. Cultivate your connections, talk to your mentors and champions and be willing to do what no one else is willing to do, so you can achieve what no one else will.
To Watch Erica's interview, click here.