Personal Journey of Transition in the Workplace

Personal Journey of Transition in the Workplace

Throughout my 41-year career in the advertising industry, I always prided myself on building and keeping relationships with my agency teams and clients. During my career, I have had the privilege of partnering with many prestigious clients in a vast array of categories. I’ve held media planning and account management positions at Grey Advertising Inc., Marketing Corporation of America (now FutureBrand), Ally & Gargano, GMI, Saatchi & Saatchi, and AFG&, where for two decades I was the Executive Vice President, Group Account Director. Evolution and transitions have long been my mantra so application of this was the norm.

While many understand life is a journey, it’s important to remember not all journeys are the same. I was and still am the most senior level person ever to have successfully transitioned male to female at IPG, a global holding company of over 90 separate companies and more than 50,000 employees worldwide. During my transition journey, I had quite a number of epiphanies. I share them here because they could be quite valuable to anyone in your company or anyone you know that is perhaps on a similar journey. As an Executive Vice President, when you hold a revenue card to half of an agency‘s business with your client relationships, that transition success also meant job security for many on my team. Failure was not an option.

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Some things to remember:

The people you fear the most in terms of their reaction and acceptance, you will find that most will become some of your greatest allies. Conversely, some of the people you counted as your best friends, sadly will walk away and never come back. You may lose family members in the process as well.

  • During a transition such as this, we tend to be very self-focused, after all, it’s our transition. However, we must realize that everyone else around us is transitioning with us. It takes time. It took us a long time to realize who we truly are, you cannot expect instant acceptance.
  • The most important asset you have during a time of transition is your allies. Never forget that.
  • A transition journey is not about courage, but it is about confidence. Once you have the confidence in yourself, you will realize that you have succeeded. When you finally get there, the feeling of elation is incredible, like a huge rock has been lifted.
  • When you can bring your whole self, your authentic self, to all facets of your life, both work and personal, it is the greatest gift that you can give to the rest of the world.

Always remember, tell your story from your heart. You will find that many will engage emotionally and that is the only way forward to change hearts and minds.