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Enhancing your visibility.

Ask Sheryl Adkins-Green how to achieve high visibility in corporate America, and she'll give you a quick response: Seize any and all opportunities to promote your skills.

"You have to market yourself within your company," says Adkins-Green, director of productivity and synergy at General Foods USA in White Plains, N.Y. "Step out of the norm and take risks."

Adkins-Green did just that when in 1987 she was asked to chair a six-member subcommittee that was charged with studying management innovation and behaviors at General Foods. Her mission was to find strategies to create a corporate environment that would nurture and foster creativity. "The committee felt that we needed to make our headquarters look more like a food company," recalls Adkins-Green. "We recommended that we put up display cases with our ads and products. We also wanted everybody to taste our products, as well as the competition's products."

Adkins-Green believes chairing that particular subcommittee was one of the best career moves she's made during her 10-year stint at General Foods. Says she: "It exposed more people to my past and present skills and that led to my being called in on some new product development projects."

Career experts say that taking the lead to become more visible in corporate America requires being a top producer first, then understanding the corporate culture to gain recognition from peers and higher-ups. "You have to become a contributor, and you also have to look at your company's goals to see how your position fits in and how it affects the bottom line," says Terri Smith-Croxton, president and CEO of JD & Associates, an Arlington, Texas-based executive search and recruitment firm.

Martina L. Bradford definitely understands this piece of advice. As American Telephone & Telegraph's (AT&T) vice president for federal government affairs for nearly two years, Bradford knows what it takes to make the right people take notice of your work. "It's more than what you do on the job," notes Bradford, who was also profiled among BLACK ENTERPRISE's "21 Women of Power and Influence In Corporate America" (August 1991), "You have to be active in professional associations outside of the job, and you have to interact with people in other departments. Don't forget, your colleagues can help you become more visible."

Waiting for a boss or immediate supervisor to give praise for a job well done is not always wise, adds Adkins-Green. While a boss can give a manager recognition by involving him in the decision-making process, Adkins-Green believes that it's up to the individual to take charge of his career. "You have to communicate to your manager that you're interested in broadening your horizons, that you have interest in other assignments," says Adkins-Green. "In most of my assignments, I tried to take on projects that called for using problem-solving creative skills."
COPYRIGHT 1992 Earl G. Graves Publishing Co., Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1992, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:Networking News
Author:Serant, Claire
Publication:Black Enterprise
Date:Feb 1, 1992
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