Don’t be modest in your professional life – Evita Lune’s 10 pointers for professional growth
by Ieva Jātniece
There are women in this world who are very inspiring, and who lead by example. One of these women is Evita Lune – PhD in Economics, Partner and Global Head of FinTech Practice Group at Pedersen & Partners, and Speaker at the Līdere Forum. Evita Lune has been working internationally for years, recruiting high-level executives for various companies. However, her professional success has not diminished her feminine charm. “Don't let stereotypes influence you!” says Evita.
- Follow the path your character has given you
By nature, I am an energetic and impatient person, so naturally I have tried many different things in my life. However, it has always seemed important to me to achieve outstanding results in whatever I do. I have worked for Shell, been the director of the EMBA program at the Stockholm School of Economics in Riga, and co-owned a fashion store. For the past fifteen years, I have been a Global Partner in the high-level executive search company Pedersen & Partners. If you do the best you can, life will constantly offer you new career opportunities.
- Be aware of your internal obstacles
I used to lack an objective self-assessment of my abilities. I was too modest in my demands, and my tolerance was too high – I tried to work with colleagues who do not keep their promises, or clients who were not always professional. It is common for many women to underestimate themselves, and fail to speak up in situations where something is not going well. For this reason, it is important to be aware of such obstacles, and to build your career and circle of clients more purposefully in the future.
- Do not stay in the shadows
Not all people can be leaders, and not everyone has to take a position that causes them great discomfort. However, I often see fear and internal insecurity holding women back from taking the lead in the first place. I would like to encourage women to rise through the ranks, because leaders have more influence and power: if you have talent, if you are a smart, diligent, responsible person with high ethical standards, then do not stay in the shadows, but take responsibility and move yourself forward! By doing this, you will not only have more power over your own life, but you will also positively influence others.
- Everything is dependent on your inner drive!
I work in the executive search industry, where I see that we are most inspired by people who are full of enthusiasm and passion. In their presence, others also want to do more and achieve more. A good leader is one who is able to inspire, to present the vision and direction in which the company should go.
At the same time, a good leader should not be neurotic or chaotic, one day in a good mood and the next in a bad mood. Instead, a good leader has stable energy and a clear direction, and understands that expressing emotions is inappropriate in a professional environment – just like discussing personal problems or talking about people behind their backs. This applies to both sexes, of course!
- Families help you to achieve more
It is a myth that female executives are unable to have both a career and a family life. I have a lot of colleagues who are divorced or childless, and sometimes it seems that more can be done at work if you do not have family commitments. But this is not the case: I see that people who have failed in their personal lives are often less professionally motivated, less organised and less achievement-oriented than those whose lives encompass more than work. I myself have participated in the upbringing of my husband’s two children, as well as the two children we have together. In total, my husband and I devote a lot of time and energy to these four children, but it has not hindered our careers. People with children are very organized and motivated – we are able to evaluate priorities, and we do not waste time. Moreover, we cannot afford to poison ourselves with bad choices or self-destructive actions – we have to live long and support the next generation. I am convinced that having children only benefits our careers and achievements.
- Do not let anyone lie to you
I have heard it said that strong women make men weak, but I cannot imagine why a self-respecting woman should ever choose a weak man. The men in my life have certainly not become weaker by associating with me – quite the opposite! I’m not just talking about my husband, who has always known what he wants to achieve and lived his life with purpose, but also my business colleagues – I have raised the quality bar for quite a few. A woman who creates constructive competition also helps to raises the standards for the men around her as well.
- Know your contribution
Our country is too small to expect only the men to provide economic prosperity. If we use the opportunities given to us by our country to study, receive medical services, ride public transport and the like, but we choose to sit on the couch and not work, we are endangering the freedom of Latvia. It is an irresponsible attitude towards our country: we cannot export oil and gas, so we must export our intelligence. And women must contribute!
- Attitude is everything
Different companies have different internal work cultures. However, it must be kept in mind that in workplaces where employees are humiliated and insulted, quality decreases over time – the best employees will leave. In the long run, companies with ethical values will win out.
I have also noticed that employees work more enthusiastically in companies where the work aims to bring greater benefits to society as a whole. This encourages employees more than standard business practices.
- Never stop learning
If you do not want to fall out of the professional environment, you need to learn technology. The use of digital tools has dramatically changed the world, and the way we work. Currently, the basics of economics are being thoroughly disrupted – with the use of cryptocurrency, every company can build its own economy.
You don’t have to be an IT specialist, but you must understand what technologies can achieve in a company and in a country, and how they affect all economic processes. Those who know how to use IT will definitely succeed, and surge ahead of those who do not, both in terms of personal career and the wider economy.
- You need to relax in order to be efficient
My hobby list is longer than my work list! My hobbies have given me the energy to go on frequent business trips, meet people all the time and sell services on a global scale. I have been water skiing for fifteen years – as often as five times a week on summer evenings – and I practice yoga every day without exception. As a family, we ride bicycles, SUP boards, and go on boat trips in the summer, and in winter, we all go downhill skiing. I have also been a winter swimmer for years. All of these activities help to clear my head and absorb energy for new jobs.
For your first job, I definitely recommend choosing a large organisation that can serve as a good learning opportunity. My first job was at Shell – this experience was like a professional guide to business. Once you have learned everything you can from your first placement, you can experiment further.
Finally, it is important for new employees to understand that material evaluation comes as a reward for working with an open heart. In the beginning, the work must be of excellent quality and the client must have a great experience – only then they will want to cooperate again and pay higher fees. It never happens the other way around – I cannot ask for a lot of money and only then try to do something great!