A 41-year Delta veteran and leader shared career advice this week: learn your organization, define your career goals and manage your personal brand.

James Sarvis, V.P.-Airport Operations, speaking in a panel discussion for the National Society of Hispanic MBAs, said for anyone seeking career advancement it is paramount to learn the organizational structure of the company, clearly define your professional goals and create an actionable road map for success. Likewise, Sarvis highlighted how valuable it has been for him to align his personal brand to Delta’s brand following the Rules of the Road.

James Sarvis
“Your brand and the company’s brand have to be well aligned. Your brand is reflected on every detail and action, from how you dress, the quality of your work and, how you interact with colleagues to how you represent yourself in public spaces and even on social media like Facebook,” said James, who has mentored many Delta colleagues through the RISE and the Diversity Council’s programs. “It is necessary to have your own brand; it needs to be genuine and transparent. If your brand is neutral, you are not likely to advance.”

The Delta leader asked the audience how often they created a personal inventory of professional assets where diversity was not the only thing brought to the table, but one of the elements to increase the value of an employee in a team. James highlighted that it is important not to buy into cultural stereotypes but to embrace a variety of thought, particularly within the diverse groups a person may represent.

Fellow panelists Tami Barron from Southern Company and Bari Love representing the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce also shared their advice on diversity and climbing the corporate ladder:

Love: “Be passionate about what you do, but learn to let loose of your plan if new opportunities arise.”

Barron: “Understand what you are and (that you are) not willing to give up advancing your career and committing to your goals.”

James: “Know yourself. Learn to navigate through ambiguity and never underestimate the power of hard work and lateral moves, or ‘monkey bars’ to advance in the career ladder.”

The panel was moderated by Maria Duarte, news anchor for Atlanta’s Telemundo station.

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