Resilience is an important skill to master, says Diageo brand manager

Maria Betes: the senior brand manager, single-malts whisky, Europe, Diageo
Maria Betes: the senior brand manager, single-malts whisky, Europe, Diageo

Diageo's senior brand manager, single-malts whisky, Europe, shares her lessons from the ladder.

Since I was featured in the Power 100 Next Generation list, I have moved from Sony to work on the Johnnie Walker brand, based in Amsterdam, and now I am back in the UK handling Diageo’s single-malt whisky portfolio.

I have been lucky to meet lots of inspirational marketers through my work and also as a Marketing Academy scholar. From this, I have collated a selection of guiding principles that have helped me navigate my career.

Enjoy the journey

At the start of my career, I had a very clear and linear career plan mapped out. In the fast-paced world we live in, I now have a different view.

I think it is important to have a vision and an idea of where you want to get to – but be flexible on how you can get there. Be open to new roles and experiences – you learn from everything. If you are too obsessed with the destination, you can forget to enjoy the journey.

What value do I add?

Be really clear about what makes you unique – the things that make you different are your strengths. Being able to clearly articulate what your "super strengths" are will help those you work with identify opportunities to maximise them.

Have an international outlook

Many of the mentors I met through The Marketing Academy highly recommended getting international experience. I was keen to pursue this and subsequently spent two-and-a-half years in Amsterdam.

The team I worked in was very diverse (we had seven nationalities) and I learned so much about cultural differences. The future will increasingly be international – it is for many already, so open up your options.

You are not alone

Building a strong network is really important. I have never been a fan of the word "networking" as it feels very forced, corporate and self-serving. I like to think of it more as relationships you build to support you inside and outside of your role. Relationships take time, effort and maintenance; think about what you can give as much as what you can gain.

Bounce back

As you go through your career, there will be things that don’t go as well as you hoped. Everyone faces some setbacks and disappointments.

This can be tough to handle, especially when you’re used to everything going your way, so work on your "bounce-backability".

Resilience is an important skill to master. It is your capacity to recover quickly from difficulties that will help you learn swiftly from mistakes and move forward positively.

Be your best

Finally, this may seem a little corny but being happy and enjoying what you do is hugely important. I really enjoyed Shawn Achor’s book The Happiness Advantage, which shows the link between happiness and being more efficient and effective at work – it leads to better results for teams and individuals.

Understanding yourself – what drives you, your values and the conditions that help you to be at your best – will enable you to identify the right choices in your career.

Maria Betes is the senior brand manager, single-malts whisky, Europe, Diageo. Betes was featured in
Marketing's Power 100 Next Generation in 2012.

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