January 20, 2023

Executive Spotlight: What Word Defines Your Professional Development Focus For 2023?

At Work It Daily, we have a saying: "If you're not growing, you're dying." For context, we're talking about your career. You must constantly work on your career to grow as a professional so you can stay relevant and employable. Professional development should always be on your mind as a business-of-one. But what you do to grow as a professional might change over time. What you focus on developing this year might be completely different from what you focused on last year.

We recently asked our leading executives what word defines their professional development focus for 2023.

Here are their responses...

John Schembari, Senior Education Executive

Investment. How do we invest participants in the professional development that they receive? Far too often, professional development is a one-size-fits-all, lowest common denominator, sit-and-get rather than an opportunity for participants to review relevant data, define personal and collective areas for growth, prioritize initiatives (1-3) that will target the growth area, and then analyze impact. Therefore, I'm not a fan of "one and done" trainings but, rather, a huge proponent of ongoing PD in the form of revolving professional learning communities (PLCs) and affinity networks.

John Schembari is a current K-12 teacher/school leader academic improvement coach and former school building and district administrator. He loves to draw, travel, swing dance, and read nonfiction.

Carla Biasi, Personal Stylist

Creativity, creative ideas, light bulb concept


I want to find fun ways to engage my followers and bring more of my personality to my communications. It will make me think more out of the box and focus my content. And I'm really looking forward to connecting with viewers.

Carla Biasi is a personal stylist living on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. She currently has her own business and works part-time at an upscale women's boutique and as a virtual and kit stylist for a women’s specialty brand.

Michael Willis, Sports Business Operations Executive

Man talks during a work meeting

My professional development word for 2023 is “articulate.”

By definition, articulate means expressing oneself readily, clearly, and effectively.

In everything we do, we must find the words to articulate our intentions with vigor to make ourselves believable.

The first question in any job interview will be, “Tell me about yourself.” You will be asked to do this. Your answer will set the tone for the rest of the interview. Many job seekers get stumped on this question. You must be able to “articulate” a persuasive and illuminating response.

A picture may be worth a thousand words, and you may have an excellent visual presentation. But with that graphic, you must be able to “articulate” communicatively and understandably what the visual is trying to show the audience.

In 2023, I will work on my “articulation” skills.

Michael Willis has 18+ years of experience working with accounting & sports organizations and has managed P&Ls of $10M - $125M+ with budgets of $3M-$50M+. He worked for the NFL for 22 1/2 years, mainly with the game officials working on the financial/accounting side of the business.

Mark Taylor, Product & Operations Executive

Commitment concept

“Commitment.” Doing the best I can at any one moment, striving to be “better,” and letting go of those things I can’t control.

Why? Well, I’m forever on the hunt for practical methods of becoming more effective. As such, I recently watched Stutz on Netflix. It’s a documentary directed by Jonah Hill about his therapist, Phil Stutz.

Phil, and fellow practitioner Barry Michels, have written two books: The Tools and Coming Alive. I started reading the latter recently.

There are a number of nuggets in the book that have made me sit up and take notice, not least this quote:

“The reason you can’t commit to anything is because it hurts you too much if it fails. Success means putting everything on the line and, if it doesn’t work out, doing it again. And again. No blaming. No excuses.”

So, here’s to true “commitment” and "success" in 2023...

Mark Taylor has 20+ years of risk, technology, and product management experience working in global and regional financial services firms in the UK and the U.S. He's managed teams of 40+, successfully addressed 100+ regulatory issues, and has saved companies $15M+.

Ana Smith, Talent Architect & Global Learning Strategist

Connection, teamwork concept

Connection is my development focus for 2023!

Our workplaces play a significant role in our lives. Work affects both our physical and mental well-being in good ways and bad. The COVID-19 pandemic brought the relationship between work and well-being into clearer focus. According to the Surgeon General 2022, Workplace Mental Health and Well-being report, one of the biggest challenges we faced in 2022 (and onwards) is connection and community.

Connection is essential for human well-being. Connection is a basic human need, and people who feel a strong sense of connection to others are happier, healthier, and more resilient!

One of the ways that connection is important is that it helps to combat loneliness and isolation. When we feel connected to others, we feel less alone and more supported. This can be especially important in times of stress or difficulty, as it can provide a sense of security and comfort.

Connectedness also allows us to feel seen, heard, and valued. When we share our thoughts, feelings, and experiences with others, and they respond with understanding and empathy, it can help us to feel understood and accepted. This can be especially important for people who may feel marginalized or excluded in some way.

Especially important to me, connection plays a critical role in our ability to learn and grow. When we are connected to others, we have the opportunity to gain new perspectives and insights, and to learn from the experiences of others. This can help us to develop new skills, knowledge, and understanding, which can be valuable for personal and professional growth.

Finally, it is a key factor in our ability to experience joy, love, and belonging. When we feel connected to others, we can experience deep and meaningful relationships that bring us a sense of fulfillment and purpose. This can be especially important for people who may be struggling to find meaning or purpose in their lives.

Ana Smith helps people & organizations achieve their full talent potential by developing and co-creating people strategies and customized solutions, and turning them into impactful outcomes and collaborative relationships, using coaching as the "red thread."

Debra Shannon, IT Executive

Intentionality, strategy concept

My 2023 focus is intentionality. In the past, I’ve tried to do everything but realized that I couldn’t do it all despite my best efforts. There’s a quote by Andrew Benintendi: “You’re going to struggle. You’re going to do well. You can’t really let the past or the day before – whether you had a good day or bad day – dictate the day you have that certain day.” A few things happened during the pandemic that made this really hit home for me. Everything happens for a reason and only worry about what you can control.

There will always be more personal/professional opportunities than I can physically do. I’ve learned that I need to be purposeful and prioritize and continually re-prioritize what is and isn’t important—each day is important. I can’t do it all and that’s ok (and I'm getting better at admitting that). I’m going to continue to be more intentional in what to plan and accomplish.

Debra Shannon is an IT executive who is also a CPA, CIA, and CISA. Her passion is turning chaos into calm. With her unique blend of experience in technology, project management, and auditing, she can break down complex business problems, identify practical solutions, and lead executive teams and business partners to embrace the value of technology changes.

Lisa Perry, Global Marketing Executive

Watching the sunset/sunrise, abundance concept

For 2023, I'm focused on abundance. An abundance of five professional areas: connections, fulfillment, wealth, success, and happiness. I've worked to clearly define what this means for me across each of these five areas. For an abundance of professional connections, I'm looking to grow my social media network by 40% in 2023, as an example. I've laid out a detailed plan as to what it will take to achieve. To grow my social media network by 40%, I will post 2-3 times a week on LinkedIn, TikTok, and Instagram and connect with 100+ new people per week. I will track weekly, making it easier to measure my ongoing progress and success.

I also find it important to state the intentionality of my word, abundance, daily if I can, to stay focused, motivated, and driven toward my goal, which increases the likelihood of achieving it.

I know some things will come easy, but for other things, depending on how big they are, I will have to work at them. I will have to fight the busyness, distraction, intimidation, and fear that will show up. The key will be to stay persistent and motivated to remain committed. But my goal is to focus on the result of abundance.

Lisa Perry helps companies build leadership brands, driving loyal customers & delivering profitability. She does this through a process that builds brands consumers love. Her goal is to help companies develop, monetize, and grow their brands.

What word defines your professional development focus for 2023? Join the conversation inside Work It Daily's Executive Program.

3 Interview Questions That Make You Look DESPERATE In Your Job Search

There are some questions you should avoid asking in your first job interview. These interview questions make you look a little desperate. Why?

Because employers might think you want the job for the wrong reasons like you just need something temporary fast until you can find something better.

This is NOT the impression you want to give employers. Here are some interview questions you want to avoid during initial job interviews:

1. "How Much Does This Job Pay?"

While this is something everyone needs to know, it's not something you want to bring up in your first interview. The purpose of the initial interview from the employer's perspective is to get to know you as a professional, see how you can handle common situations related to the job, and ultimately decide if you're a good fit (or could be).

Money is kind of like the elephant in the room during the first interview. Everyone is thinking about it, but no one is talking about it because it's irrelevant at this point in the hiring process. Don't bring it up until they do.

2. "What Do Your Benefits Look Like?"

Woman asks a desperate interview question

Again, this isn't relevant at this point in the hiring process. The last thing you want to convey is that you only care about the perks of the job. Employers want to know that you're excited about the opportunity itself.

If you're only in it for the money and benefits, employers might worry that you'll leave their company in an instant if you get another offer with better perks and salary. So, why would they waste their time and money on you to begin with?

3. "How Quickly Can I Get Promoted?"

Hiring manager looks at job candidate after he ask a desperate question in a job interview

You don't even have the job yet and you're already asking how fast you can get promoted? While you might think this question makes you look like a go-getter, the hiring manager might think otherwise.

You're only in the initial stages of the hiring process and you haven't proved your abilities to the company yet. So, for some employers, it would seem ridiculous to estimate how fast you'd be promoted. You haven't even gotten a job offer yet!

We know how nerve-wracking a job interview can be, especially that initial interview with a company when you don't know where you stand against the competition. If you avoid asking these three questions during an interview, you won't appear desperate, even though you might be!

If you really are desperate to find a job or are just struggling in your job search, we can help.

We'd love it if you signed up for Work It Daily's Event Subscription! Get your career questions answered in our next live event!

This article was originally published at an earlier date.

Why Do You #WorkItDaily? Share Your Story With Us Today!

For many of us, our careers are not only about what we do but WHY we do it. At Work It Daily, we know this is true. That's why we want to hear YOUR career story!

Why Do You #WorkItDaily? 

@workitdaily Why do YOU #WORKITDAILY ??? Share your story on @tiktok, tag @workitdaily & add the hashtag #workitdaily too. You could get featured on our feed & website where millions will see you.♥️♥️♥️ #jobtok #edutok #careertiktok #careergoals #work #lifehack #life #live #love ♬ original sound - Work It Daily

J.T. O'Donnell, Work It Daily's founder and CEO, recently launched a social media campaign on TikTok asking users to share their stories about why they "#workitdaily."

Why do you do what you do?

Work It Daily's mission in 2023 is to help millions of people become the purpose-driven professionals they want to be. But in order to do that, we need to change the narrative. We need to stop asking people what their job titles are and what they do for work and judging them based on those answers. Instead, we need to start to get to know the people behind the work.

And the way that we do that is through storytelling.

If millions of us can share our stories about why we work, we will collectively change the narrative. And this is also how we're finally going to be able to be comfortable working to live instead of living to work. The shift has to come, and we're starting that shift with this campaign.

Need Some Inspiration? Check Out Fatima's Story! 

@fatimalhusseiny I joined the challenge #workitdaily @Work It Daily #fypシ #bookishmuslimgirl_lb ♬ Epic Music(863502) - Draganov89

Our first participant in this challenge was Fatima, a writer who loves telling the stories of others.

In her TikTok, Fatima states:

Writing is my passion. It's how I express myself and share my voice through others' stories. Telling stories is a way of communication and connecting with others and making a difference. I think it's also a personal journey for me. I love nothing more than just sitting down with someone and hearing about their experiences, challenges, struggles, their triumphs and achievements, and then being able to take all of that and put them into words. There's something magical about being out there for someone sharing their stories and being there.

Fatima shared her story with us. Will you?

Share Your Story With Us Today! 

@workitdaily Thank you Fatima for being the first to join our @tiktok social media campaign♥️♥️♥️@fatimalhusseiny We can't wait to share your story with the world! Check out our campaign to learn more! @workitdaily #workitdaily #WhyIWorkItDaily #careertiktok #careertok #jobtok #edutok #mywhy #purpose #passion #worktolive #live #life #love ♬ Epic Music(863502) - Draganov89

Why do YOU #workitdaily? Share your story on TikTok, tag @workitdaily, and add #workitdaily to your post. You could get featured on our website and social media feeds!

Let's start changing the narrative today! We look forward to seeing your story!

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