“Risk-taking is the only way to move my career forward and live a rewarding life.” — Charlotte Berry
Charlotte Berry is my go-to advisor for life. We initially met through a conversation about financial planning, but in the time that we have been working together, Charlotte has become a consistent, empathetic, honest and straight-forward confidant for me in all aspects of life. I trust Charlotte to be there for me and to be a supportive friend through thick and thin. I’m so grateful Charlotte shared some of her advice and wisdom on life.
Amy Powell: Is there one piece of advice that you wish your 9 year old self would give you today that would make an impact on your career?
Charlotte Berry: As a 9 year old, I had a strong sense of adventure and loved to explore. I read lots of books and spent tons of time outdoors. That girl would tell me to make time for the things I enjoy even when it feels like there’s too much on my plate. I think this is important because we can easily sacrifice hobbies and the little things that bring us joy when we focus on achieving career goals. It’s taken me many years to realize that I bring a brighter energy and better problem-solving skills to my work when I carve out time to do things like read a book for fun or go to the beach. And this is especially true when work gets busy and doing something for fun feels unproductive!
Amy: Was there a time you messed up and felt like you’d failed? how did you bounce back?
Charlotte: I really thought I messed up when I left a great job in Washington DC and moved across the country to live in California. It was a life-long dream, and I was very excited to make it happen. But once I got here, I had a difficult time finding a job and felt like I had made a mistake. It was a tough time because I had always prided myself on being a responsible decision-maker. I had to start reminding myself that I had plenty of accomplishments under my belt, and that feeling like I failed was just that. A feeling. My energy and thoughts were better spent on how to move forward and seek out more job opportunities. I eventually found an entry-level job at a great company that I’ve grown with and am still working for today. I can look back now and be proud of myself for taking the risk and stepping into the unknown because it was what led me to the career I have now!
Amy: How did you learn to embrace risk-taking?
Charlotte: I started to embrace risk-taking more once I realized it was really the only way to move my career forward and live a rewarding life. It was looking back and seeing how much of the good things in my life happened when I stepped outside of my comfort zone that convinced me I had to get comfortable with uncertainty. I’m thankful that I’ve always had an incredible group of friends, family and colleagues that was a constant source of support and encouragement when I was considering doing something that felt exciting but scary. I’m pleased to say that I don’t rely so heavily on outside influences to take risks anymore because I more readily embrace risk-taking on my own accord. Surrounding yourself with people who encourage your dreams, boost your confidence, and take risks themselves is a great way to gradually get more comfortable with risk-taking.
Amy: What’s the most important leadership lesson you’ve learned and how has it proven invaluable?
Charlotte: You don’t always have to be right or always know the right answer to be an effective leader. In fact, being okay with being wrong and staying curious makes for a better leader. I’ve learned to value objectivity, empathy and humility in leadership. Holding true to those values allows a leader to motivate teams towards their mission while recognizing that the journey is just as important as results. Leaders are responsible for fostering an environment that creates results and also provides a positive experience for the team. A positive experience is key to creating repeatable results.
Amy: What is the most fun part of your job?
Charlotte: My job involves a lot of analysis, presentations, and sometimes difficult conversations about money. The rewarding part is being able to solve problems for people and helping them feel confident making financial decisions. The best part of my job, and the most fun I have, is when I’m building relationships with clients and colleagues and celebrating their accomplishments alongside them.