The Roads to Opportunity

We were pleased to welcome Ms. Stacy Siegal as speaker for our December meeting. Ms. Siegal has worked as head of the legal and human resources department and is the Executive Vice President of American Eagle. She is a graduate of Lehigh University and George Washington University. She highlighted, for us, the complexity of the career path, explaining it as “more of a jungle gym than a ladder”.

Ms. Siegal began with her story of how she initially dreamt of becoming an oceanographer. She realized that she had a passion for writing and was later able to incorporate this into the profession of law. “It’s ok if you get to college and you don’t like what you are doing and want to switch,” she explained. Many people feel unhappy and trapped in their profession and if so, it is completely fine to take a step back and pause. The most important thing is to ensure you are keeping kind to yourself. Keeping this goal of happiness in mind, she emphasized the importance of finding something you are passionate about. The drive and enthusiasm this creates success and leadership opportunities. Staying in a profession that does not provide you with this happiness would hinder progress because this enthusiasm would be lost, and there's little room for growth. As she explained it, “It is really hard to fake it”. She also remarked on the importance of finding your “superpower”: a trait that makes one stand out such as resilience, humor, or kindness. Using this tool would heighten an interviewer's interest at a job interview.

Additionally, Ms. Siegal introduced the importance of LinkedIn. She explained that this is a tool that will allow you to create connections and relationships that will help in the future, because this is the place future employers look to see achievements. Even years in the future, the connections built would provide innumerable opportunities. Once a job interview is secured, she points out the things that make someone seem like a good candidate: eye contact, smiling, and preparation. The combination of the three things present a candidate that is strong in all aspects. The smiling and eye contact signify eagerness, engagement and enthusiasm, and the research indicates the importance this company has to the candidate. Learning everything there is to know about a company and the person you are being interviewed by leaves little room for unpredictability and shows demonstrated interest.

Thank you so much for sharing your time and tips Ms. Siegal!