Carolyn Leighton

September 03, 2014

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by Carolyn Leighton
September 1, 2014

This editorial is being written for every woman starting her career, and many at every stage of her career, who sees herself as the lone ranger, as I did until I started WITI 25 years ago.

If anyone were to ask me the biggest strategic mistake I made in my own career development, my answer would be not joining and participating in a professional organization.

Ironically, I did not understand or fully appreciate the real value of a professional organization until I started WITI 25 years ago!

It was only after WITI started and members shared the opportunities and connections they were experiencing, that I realized the huge strategic mistake I had made in my own career by not getting involved early in my career in a professional organization.

From the time I was a young child, I always stayed away from anything that was a group:

1) Group of friends �" only wanted one
2) Group activity �" nope, prefer to do things on my own �" etc, etc, etc.

Growing up in a large family in New England, I always felt so different from the people around me, and spent hours after school every day alone in libraries or on my favorite window seat thinking about everything. Thinking was always and still is one of my greatest pleasures.

So, when I arrived at the University of Michigan, the idea of a sorority was beyond my imagination; instead, I was instinctively drawn to a few young women in my dorm who shared my "outsider" experience. 6 months into my arrival, I was thrilled that I was able to capture a private dorm room, away from roommates, allowing me my hours of alone time and privacy. I think you get the picture.

So, I am speaking from personal experience when I encourage those of you who, as I did, go it alone, stay away from groups, to step up and join an organization of like minded women who are truly committed to helping you succeed. I have no doubt you will experience, as I did, the amazing power of engaging with an organization like WITI!

Please don't hesitate to reach out to me personally:

Opinions expressed by the author are not necessarily those of WITI.

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Founded in 1989, WITI (Women in Technology International) is committed to empowering innovators, inspiring future generations and building inclusive cultures, worldwide. WITI is redefining the way women and men collaborate to drive innovation and business growth and is helping corporate partners create and foster gender inclusive cultures. A leading authority of women in technology and business, WITI has been advocating and recognizing women's contributions in the industry for more than 30 years.

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