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Sheila Flavell on sideways moves, finding the right mentor & planning for success

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In her everywomanClub Voices Of Experience video, Chief Operating Officer of FDM Group and everywoman in Technology award winner Sheila Flavell reveals how her career development hasn't followed the traditional arc. "Some people have one career with one company and they start at the bottom and work their way to the top, which is fantastic. I've had three careers and quite a few sideways moves. What that does is I gather experience in all different environments and that's helped me be the person I am today."

She is a firm advocate of career planning and advises anyone at the start of their career to make a plan with clear goals.

"If you don't have goals, they're just dreams. I have short term, medium and long term goals. It's the mantra I live by. I'm continually reassessing them to make sure they're the right goals and I'm heading in the right direction and in a timely manner. I tend to focus on the actual action and the journey; if you set a goal on what it is you're looking to achieve, financial results will follow. Have self-belief; if you believe in yourself then you're halfway there. Talk yourself up – it works."

She advises young women at the start of their career to take time to find the right mentor and to choose wisely someone who they can identify with and learn from. "Young people starting off don't really want to be sitting with the CEO of an organisation; that person's too far away from them. They would probably want a mentor aged 25 and a middle manager because they can see how they can actually reach that position. I might have got to where I am earlier if I'd had a mentor or a sponsor."

Sheila also discusses how winning an everywoman in Technology award was a pivotal moment in her career.