Shakia Pauling is a financial analyst Sr. in Cost Management at BAE Systems. This powerhouse leader is an inspiring example of a woman who has found success in her career while prioritizing her personal life. She embodies true leadership by demonstrating that work-life balance is crucial for success and that fulfilling your sense of purpose is critical to achieving your goals.
When asked about the 90-Day plan, Shakia exclaimed, “Try it for yourself!” She explains that incorporating the 90-day plan into her personal and professional development cycle has been a game changer. It forces her to evaluate her current state of being every 90 days, write out clear and concise goals, and provide a deadline to make it happen. This approach helps her tackle the sometimes daunting tasks in front of her.
Shakia attributes her newfound confidence to the Brand Leadership Institute (BLI). Making a list of her achievements, acknowledging her strengths and opportunities, and setting realistic goals helped her realize that she could apply for her dream job, the job that she needed to kick-start her career.
Work-life balance is a major part of Shakia’s brand. She believes that tapping into the importance of balance has provided her with overall health – mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Shakia is more motivated, focused, and productive in all aspects of her life since making it a priority to balance. Some weeks work has priority, but there are other weeks when her family needs her, and work can wait. This approach has significantly contributed to her success. For Shakia, success is far beyond her job title; it is her overall performance as a wife, mother, daughter, friend, and career woman.
Shakia also understands the value of having a powerful brand image, and she defines hers in three words: Bold. Authentic. Impactful. She aims to be as open, transparent, and authentic as possible when speaking about her career-life journey. Through this journey, she has learned that others appreciate having someone who understands and can relate to their experiences. Helping others create a powerful brand image comes naturally to her because she believes that others see that when she shows up, whether it’s for work or personally, she does it authentically.
When asked about her sense of purpose, Shakia cites her family – the family she came from and the family she created. Her parents taught her the value of hard work, and she states, “Now, my children are my purpose. I want them to see their mother working hard to achieve her goals and demonstrate how hard work in your career (with balance) will ultimately provide a favorable lifestyle outside the workplace.”
Shakia’s advice to aspiring leaders is to prioritize balance. She recommends the book “Set Boundaries, Find Peace” by Nedra Tewab as a resource for those who want to reclaim themselves and find their own sense of balance. Between The She-Suite programs and influential books, Shakia found her sense of purpose and achieved goals beyond her wildest dreams.
Lastly, Shakia emphasizes the importance of finding your sense of purpose, being confident in your abilities, and creating a powerful brand image. She concludes, “Find balance, prioritize balance. You will be glad that you did!”
Desiree Pabalan, BSN RN is the Clinical Quality Program Director at Elevance Health making great strides in healthcare industry leadership. She is a vocal champion of health equity–everyone has a fair and just opportunity to be healthy, regardless of their social or economic status–and often posts on her LinkedIn profile about how healthcare organizations can improve their efforts to provide equitable care, beginning with understanding the community they serve. As she puts it, “The bottom line is that when we have better communities, we gain healthier customers, healthier businesses, healthier employees, and economic growth.”
As is often the case with passionate women leaders, Pabalan struggled to find the balance between supporting others without depleting herself. In a recent interview with The She-Suite, Pabalan discussed the wealth of things she learned during her time in the Brand Leadership Institute (BLI) that have refined her both as a leader and a person.
We asked her how The She-Suite’s 90-Day plan has helped her refine her goals, align her sense of purpose, and achieve professional and personal success. As she explained, “The 90-day plan is more than just jotting down what you want to do in the next 90 days. It is strongly connected to your Mission, Vision, and Purpose, and is an experience that encourages us to solidify our plans for personal and professional growth with not just our strengths in mind, but our own personal and professional limitations. Through this inward process of self-reflection, these finite limitations are then transformed into the goals that you can chip away at throughout your 90-day plan.”
Pabalan shared that through this process, she was able to break down the walls that she had built up over the years that had obscured her self-perception and weaknesses. She discovered that she was holding back from leading authentically and that she needed to embrace her past experiences to propel herself forward. By championing her diversity and previous adversities, Pabalan transformed into a relatable, authentic leader that could offer valuable perspectives without fear. She encourages others to try out the 90-day plan to find their purpose, align their goals, and achieve greater success.
Pabalan also discussed other takeaways from the BLI and how they have helped her. Pabalan highlighted authenticity as a crucial trait in leadership, emphasizing that being yourself is critical in delivering results. She also prizes the importance of building a Board of Directors – by aligning oneself with individuals who complement one’s strengths and increase collective knowledge, it allows for expansion of mindsets, growth of skill sets, and sustains individuals in their quickly evolving fields.
Pabalan shared that having an identified sponsor, mentor, advisor, and industry influencer keeps individuals from complacency. She encourages building one’s brand and influence within the industry by reciprocating the benefits received by supporting others’ growth, serving as a mentor, and genuinely wanting to see others succeed.
Another key takeaway from the BLI for Pabalan was self-care. She shared that she had placed herself last on her list of priorities, and this had affected her brand and productivity. Pabalan realized that when individuals don’t exercise or take care of themselves physically, spiritually, and emotionally, it can have a negative impact on their work. To counter this, she compiled inspirational quotes and incorporated them into her planner. As she exclaimed, “One of my favorite quotes that Melissa (The She-Suite Founder) shared during this course says, ‘Self-care is giving the world the best of you, not what’s left of you.’” She adds, “I feel that I need to be reminded of this almost every day.”
Pabalan’s story is a testament to the power of embracing one’s past experiences, being true to oneself, and building a community of support. She realizes her successes now utilizing self-reflection, authenticity, building a network of support, and self-care, giving her the bandwidth to continue to advocate for healthcare professionals, organizations, and the community to work towards providing equitable care for all. As Pabalan says, “Together, we can create a brighter, healthier future.”