What was the best professional advice you were ever given?

Shabnam Bashir, Associate Director, Optimum Strategic Communications

“If you want to learn something completely new that you are passionate about and makes you want to delve deeper, go for it, take the risk! It’s better to pass on the promotion and go sideways than to stay in a role you care less about because you will only limit yourself from reaching your full potential.”

Eva Haas, Senior Consultant, Optimum Strategic Communications

“• Actively seek professional advice and help from people you look up to
• Be proactive: opportunities can come from unexpected quarters
• What have you got to lose? At worst it’s a few shreds of dignity whereas you might have everything to gain.”

Nawal Ouzren, Chief Executive Officer, Sensorion

“It is all about the people, build great relationships, nurture them. Be generous with your time and resources to help others. If you do it, you will always find help when you are in trouble.”

“The first time you meet someone, it is like an interview. Be prepared “

Zoë Johnson, Chief Scientific Officer, iOnctura

“My PhD mentor told me very early on in my thesis studies that I should never be afraid of asking questions. She was very good at asking “All The Questions” and I learned to do the same. You soon realise that by asking questions you are actually helping out other people in the room who may also have the same question but are too embarrassed to ask.”

Linden Thomson, Fund Manager, AXA Investment Managers

“Always prepare for a presentation. No matter how expert you are on a subject, or how senior.”

“Make sure you know what your manager/team’s expectations are of you, manage them appropriately so that you can commit personally to delivering them. “

Hannah Nicolas, Equity Sales – Private Client Wealth, Investec

“It sounds so simple but make sure you’re always honest with your managers about what you most enjoy, or are less interested in in your job. Don’t be a people pleaser.”

Jessica Freeman, Adviser to the UK Executive Director, UK Delegation, World Bank Group

“There isn’t a right or wrong career decision. You don’t constantly have to move up. Sometimes you can move sideways. And sometimes the worse jobs you can learn the most from. So your career is like climbing a frame, rather than climbing a ladder.”

Julie Simmonds, Director, Equity Research, Panmure Gordon

“Never apologise…though obviously it shouldn’t be taken to extremes! It is one of the great differences between male and female communication – men don’t apologise as a rule but many emails from women commence “I’m sorry for the delay in replying…” or start a meeting with “I’m sorry I’m late….”. It is a habit, that undermines without any benefit. So we should all consider whether we really mean the apology or whether it is just an easy opening to an email!”

Amy Walker, Partner (Healthcare Equity Research), Peel Hunt

“Never ask permission. If you see an opportunity to make something positive happen, just do it. On the (very rare occasions) it may prove necessary, apologise later.”