By Kyle Dutton, DLE Marketing and Membership Intern, Finance and Marketing major with a minor in Economics at Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY
Keeping your connections fresh in the business world can go a long way in building relationships. It can open doors to new job opportunities or even just help you build your network, as DLE Alum Sheryl Owen can attest.
That strategy has helped Sheryl, a New York-based Global Sustainability expert and the founder of SBO, Surrounded by Opportunities, make a dream come true.
Here’s how. Four years ago, Sheryl traveled to London in search of new career opportunities. She had quit her job, with the goal of finding a job that she was more passionate about—perhaps a dream job that could be life-changing.
“I’ve always wanted to work in London. It has been a goal and dream of mine for the longest time possible,” she recalls, noting that she completed a number of informational interviews to get an understanding of the market.
At the time, Brexit was taking a toll on the employment market. Jobs were shrinking, especially those for expats. It was a message often heard, particularly from recruiters—and one in particular from the firm Mott Macdonald. “This was a minor setback for me as I was really hoping to get a job there, but sometimes you have to play with the cards you’ve been dealt, and in this case, I had to hold my head high and continue to work harder.”
And she’s done so. After returning to the U.S., Sheryl earned a position with a Manhattan-based architecture firm. When the pandemic hit, she evaluated her situation, decided to make a major career pivot and start her own business.
“Essentially I wasn’t happy with the work I was doing,” she admits. I was doing a lot of personal branding for the company I was working for at the time, which made me realize that there are so many entrepreneurial opportunities for me to capitalize on!”
Through these career changes, Sheryl kept her connection fresh with the London recruiter who had come up empty with opportunities years earlier. Rather than let frustration fester, she got inspired. “I realized that if I want to stand out, I need to understand the market a lot better. That’s how I planned on selling myself to companies,” she notes.
To her surprise, in October, the recruiter reached out with some good news. “She said that they’ve been keeping an eye on me and would love to have me join their company now!” She is taking the role of Senior Sustainability Consultant Associate at Mott Macdonald—a position that she’s passionate and thrilled about.
Next month, Sheryl will be London-bound. She’s in the process of tapping the DLE community for connections, readily speaking up at Breakfast Club and Culture Chat programs with requests for contacts. It’s working, too. She’s compiled an impressive list of new contacts from diverse industries.
“Connections allow you to benefit from the help you receive from others, and you can also offer support to them when they need it. These relationships form a win-win situation in which expanding your network improves your performance and usefulness in professional settings,” she explains.
Sheryl affirms that the DLE has played a big role in helping her to build long-lasting relationships. “The DLE provides a diverse platform for people to share their work and life experiences in a manner like no other. As a member of the Culture Chat Planning Team and regular DLE program participant, I feel like I’m always learning something new because of the great exposure to smart, knowledgeable people who want to see others grow and succeed.”
From the entire DLE community, we wish Sheryl all the success in the world and hope that this new journey creates lasting memories!