On July 21st, the WashingtonExec Rising Stars of GovCon Committee came together for an evening roundtable at Attain Headquarters in Tysons Corner to learn how to create a career trajectory and set yourself apart from other early in your career. Keynote speaker Ed Swallow, Vice President of Vaeros, a division of the The Aerospace Corporation, led the discussion.
“The first and most important activity to setting yourself apart is your perception of you and how you present yourself to others,” says Swallow.
In addition to managing perceptions, Swallow says it is just as important to manage relationships too. Swallow breaks down the art of successfully managing relationships into four perspectives: internal operational versus external operational, and internal organizational versus external organizational.
Operational relationships, according to Swallow, are part of your everyday job responsibilities, whereas organizational relationships are created outside of your job description. Organizational relationships are the result of bringing credit to your organization rather than yourself.
In the internal operational perspective, you ask yourself the question, “How can I do my job better?” When in external operational, you ask, “How well am I satisfying my customers?” On the opposite side, in internal organizational aspect you seek to understand everyone’s position and needs in the organization. Lastly, the external organizational aspect is about building a brand and finding your niche in the industry.
However, one aspect is not superior to another. Swallow says the best position to be in is when you have a healthy balance of all four.
Swallow ended the discussion with his number one simple rule for success, to remember that “integrity, honesty and strong ethics trump all else, ” because one ethical mistake can erase all successes.
“I thought Ed Swallow’s presentation was packed with enlightening takeaways for people in the early stages of their careers,” said Rising Stars of GovCon Chairperson Lisa Shea Mundt of AOC Key Solutions. “I really respected his underlying message that integrity, honesty, and strong ethics trump all else. My favorite point he made was that there’s wisdom in brevity, and in meetings you should ask yourself to ‘W.A.I.T,’ which is an acronym for ‘Why Am I Talking.’ If you can’t answer the question, then it may be wise to pause until you’re sought after for your opinion instead of continuing to offer it unsolicited.”
The WashingtonExec Rising Stars of GovCon Committee is an exclusive group of young professionals in the government contracting industry.