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Networking for the Terrified with Lola Olaore

About Lola Olaore

As women, we don’t talk about accomplishments enough. That is why Josie asks her guests what their biggest accomplishment is.

For Lola, her biggest accomplishment is starting thinkHER ambition. Through her work, she impacts young women and supports them to reach their full potential.

Lola has received the Yahoo Finance Future leader award and Financial Times top 50 inspirational Ethnic-Minority Future Leaders. On top of that, Lola has been selected as a G20 UK youth delegate and is an ambassador for One Young World.


What you’ll learn

  • Skills all young women should develop for their careers
  • Why networking is important
  • How to get started with networking
  • How to become a great female leader
  • What you can learn from Lola Olaore about how to get the career and life you want


Lola’s top tips for young women starting their careers

  • Be your authentic self. You should not have to change for your organisation. When you feel like you need to change, the organisation is not a right fit for you.
  • Create your own opportunities. Always put yourself out there for opportunities and when you feel like doors are getting slammed shut in your face, knock on other doors and keep going. 
  • Work hard. Work hard for the things you want in life and be driven and motivated, keep trying and create your opportunities.
  • Stand up for what’s right. When you feel uncomfortable with something, maybe it’s what a co-worker said or something you’ve seen, speak up. You should always stand up for yourself and your beliefs. 
  • Have a plan. You should have a vision of where you want to be 10 or 20 years down the line. That is how you can find the right opportunities for yourself and develop your own career plan.
  • Enjoy the process. Yes, have a plan, but don’t get too stuck in it that you forget to enjoy the road towards your goal.


Top skills every woman should develop

  • Authenticity: because we live in the digital age, we sometimes embody someone we’re not. It’s important to stay authentic to who you are and what you believe in.
  • Confidence: Confidence is essential in today’s society. Create your own opportunities and don’t let yourself get discouraged by rejections. Instead, try again.
  • Being outspoken: We need to be outspoken and speak out when something isn’t right. It’s about being innovative. Coming with ideas and asking for help and feedback.
  • Having an open mind: We need to embrace other cultures, food, and languages. We need to be open-minded to diversity.


How to get started with networking

It can be hard for young people to introduce themselves when they’re trying to get connections and trying to network. Lola teaches you how to get started.

When you go to networking events, listen to the speakers and note anything intriguing they say. Afterwards, introduce yourself and mention something from their speech that you found interesting or inspiring. Say that you would love to stay in contact and ask the speaker if you can connect via LinkedIn or email.

Online, when you ask someone to connect, send a message saying why you want to connect and mention something that you have in common, that you can build upon. 

Don’t just send a message asking for someone’s time. Let them know why you want to connect and what you want to discuss during that time. Before the conversation, send an email laying out the objective of the call.  


How to become a great female leader

The leaders of the future should be authentic and servant leaders. They should really care about the people they work with. 

Leaders can also be intrapreneurs, rather than entrepreneurs. They should work from within the organisation and deliver an impact there. It’s about connecting your work with your passion. When you are your authentic self and have the opportunity to create an impact within your organisation, you are an intrapreneur. 

Sponsors are crucial. Visible and invisible sponsors are people who know you, see what you do, and put you forward for opportunities. It’s very important for young people to find that sponsor and a tribe that is willing to build you up. In order to find those key people, you need to network. 


How to grow from your challenges

Often we feel like we need to do everything right in order to get to where we want to be, but that’s not true. Sometimes our challenges can better position us for better opportunities.

Another thing Lola learned is to always have your own point of view. When you speak up in a meeting, you are heard. People remember what you said. If you don’t speak up, people will remember that you stayed silent.

So, for the next generation of female leaders, it is vital to network, work hard, knock down obstacles, learn from other people and from the challenges you face, change for no one, have a plan, and enjoy the process. That is how Lola got to where she is today and what enables her to keep developing. And you can do it too!

Want to listen to this podcastNetworking for the Terrified with Lola Olaore 

Massive thanks to Merel Melchers, who has summarised the key learnings from the HER ambition podcast!

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