Have you signed up yet for Six Steps to Successful Negotiations with Ching Valdezco? We have a few seats left – it's Wednesday, March 29, at Grant Thornton in San Francisco. So sign up today!
In the meantime, here's a little Q&A we did with Ching – enjoy!
Ching, tell us what you're doing these days.
I’m a Director at Exec|Comm, in the San Francisco office. We’re a communication skills consulting firm, headquartered in New York with teaching resources around the world. For over 30 years, our firm has helped business leaders and professionals communicate, present, influence and lead more effectively.
What does your job entail?
I build and manage client relationships in Silicon Valley. In addition, I help business professionals improve their skills through one-on-one coaching, and classroom training.
What do you love about it?
I’ve managed global teams for over 15 years, and I love seeing the people I coach grow and develop. It feels great to hear, “I learned this because of you, and it’s helped me tremendously in my career.”
Now I'm able to take my expertise and share that with professionals in a wide range of industries.
Last week I coached a senior leader at a top financial services firm, who was preparing for a big conference. His talk was about an employee who is battling cancer, and it was great seeing him bring that inspiring story to life.
What’s the most challenging aspect of it?
Uncertainty. This is a big change for me. There can be a lot of risk in leaving a successful career to do something very different. I applied my corporate strategy skills to prepare a strategic plan for my own career. That gave me the confidence to take the leap and go do what I love: to help people grow and be successful.
How long have you lived/worked in Silicon Valley?
Four and half years. We love it here.
Where were you before then?
My husband and I lived in Singapore for six years before moving to the Bay Area. We’ve relocated internationally twice for our careers, and have been very fortunate that our employers supported us moving together.
What do you think are the key skills/expertise you need in order to achieve a level of success in Silicon Valley? What tips worked for you?
Influencing skills – being able to communicate your ideas in a way that builds support and gets results.
So much of the work that goes on in Silicon Valley deals with intangible things. I learned that, as a leader, I need to be able to paint a clear vision and help my audience understand how that vision helps them.
What do you think we all need to be doing to prepare for the next phases of our careers?
Invest in ourselves. Learn to negotiate – hopefully, my Six Steps to Successful Negotiations workshop will help!
Oftentimes, we’re so focused on what we need to deliver today, that we don’t take enough time to set the stage for tomorrow’s success.
The best leaders think ahead and identify specific skills they’ll need to be successful in the next stage of their career (like influencing, or building relationships). They invest time and effort to develop and practice those skills.
When that next great career opportunity comes our way, we want to be ready for it.
What inspired you to join Watermark? What benefits do you enjoy from your membership? How has Watermark been helpful to you?
I attended a thought leadership talk by Denise Brosseau, who co-founded the women’s forum that is now Watermark.
At the time, I was a director of Strategy and Planning at Hewlett-Packard, and wanted to meet and learn from other senior women leaders like Denise. She encouraged me to join Watermark.
I enjoy Watermark’s events. I learn a lot from talking through common challenges with my peers at the C-Suite events. And Watermark does a fantastic job of making us all feel welcome and connected – please keep it up!