Emerging Leader Spotlight: Nethra Murali

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Every month we ask an emerging leader we admire to share what she is doing to take the lead in her career. We invite her to share how she achieved her current position, what obstacles she encountered on her climb, as well as tips for how to be a rising woman of influence.

This month we shine the Emerging Leader Spotlight on Nethra Murali, Financial Analyst in Boeing’s Commercial Aviation Finance Division.

Nethra MuraliFavorite leadership quote:

“Success isn’t owned…it’s leased. And the rent is due EVERY damn day!” — J.J Watt

What is the most important thing you have learned that has been critical to your career success?

As Albert Einstein once said, “If you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

Identifying your strengths and weaknesses are the biggest key success factors, but this is much easier said than done. It requires soul-searching and redefining your priorities in life. Most importantly, it requires you to be the architect: mapping out a plan to acquire the skills you need to get into the position you envision for yourself. Having a career coach and/or mentor—formal or organic—certainly helps you discover your niche. I have a myriad of interests that go beyond my work responsibilities and have found alternative avenues to develop them, such as volunteering, leading a team outside work, or mentoring someone.

Observe and listen more but talk less (perhaps that is why we have two pairs of eyes and ears but only one mouth to speak!) This is a constant battle for me. I have definitely improved over the last year and have become a little more cautious and pro-active in my listening, too.

What leadership tools or resources have you used that have been crucial to your success?

I have been an active participant in a couple of Boeing developmental programs to expand my horizons, JumpStart and LEAD. I had emerged to be the top-scoring candidate in the 2015 Fall cohort of the JumpStart developmental program and went on to win first place.

As part of LEAD (Leadership Education for Asian American Professionals) I was acting as the lead and was awarded Best Leader for the Fall of 2016 graduation. Through these programs I have refined my project management skills, gained further self-awareness, build a stronger lateral network of peers, and enhanced my public speaking skills.

What are some top tips you can recommend to other women who want to be recognized as high-potential emerging leaders?

Develop your EQ (Emotional Quotient). I was introduced to the concept of Emotional Intelligence by one of my middle school teachers. It is a highly underutilized skill that is critical to leadership success. I have become an advocate of broadening EQ awareness within Boeing.

Take accountability! One of the chief traits of a fine leader is the ability to admit that you made a mistake or that there is something you do not know. Even superheroes have distinctive powers and weaknesses. We are mortals after all and we cannot possibly know everything! After realizing your mistake, take a step back and take action to mitigate the situation.

Practice Gratitude! Say “thank you” and show appreciation. If possible, write out a card and send it (the value of your hand-written note progressively increases over time.) This is one of the most under-valued gestures within workplaces.

Final thought: You are the CEO of your personal and professional life. You have the power to stage and compose it the way you want it to be. Be your own brand ambassador! Your career is neither a book to be read nor a DIY manual where you follow the rules.

What professional accomplishment or result have you achieved in the past year that you are proud of?

In early 2016 I participated in an enterprise-wide fast-pitch competition internally at Boeing, and won People’s Choice and VP Sponsor’s Choice.

This led to delivering a 30-minute presentation of my idea to a vice president and their team of managers. As a finance professional in an engineering organization, it was a challenge selling my idea to them.

Though intimidating at first, as I was a relatively new employee, this provided an excellent opportunity to gain visibility, present my ideas, network with top leaders, and work with some of them to execute the plan.  Currently, the idea is in the infancy stage of being implemented Boeing-wide.

Connect with Nethra on LinkedIn.

Angie Klein

As Operations and Marketing Manager, Angie Klein is responsible for maintaining the day to day operations of Women’s Leadership Coaching, Inc. and Be Leaderly.com. Angie manages all aspects of training program logistics, registrations, SEO, social media engagement and customer service.

Follow @kleina2012 on Twitter.

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