Apply work skills to life, strategist says
Leveraging professional skills sets and applying them to your personal life can lead to more success and fulfilment.
That was a message shared by Christie Hunter Arscott, a Bermudian gender and generations strategist and independent consultant whose clients include Fortune 100 companies, government bodies and Ivy League institutes.
The former Rhodes Scholar was a keynote speaker at a gathering of the 100 Women in Hedge Funds in Bermuda group, where she spoke on how workplace skills can beneficially be applied to a person’s personal life.
Speaking to The Royal Gazette afterwards, she said: “I talked about how people can lead a more fulfilling life. How to use their professional skill sets and enhance their life.”
At the heart of the matter is the life-work balance and the synergy between how people make a living, and how they live.
“There are lots of skills we are trained in that we do not apply to our lives.”
While businesses create clear goals and then come up with strategies to achieve them, Ms Hunter Arscott noted: “We do not function like that in our personal lives.”
She illustrated this with an anecdote of a woman she knew who was proactive and confident in the business realm, but did not act that way in her personal life.
To demonstrate how that disconnect affects many people, she challenged the audience at the event to identify their top three personal life priorities and then consider how much time they allocate to each.
She pointed out that in business priorities are backed up with suitable time allocation to ensure goals are achieved. The same action is required in a person’s personal life.
“Keep yourself honest. Spend more time with your child, care for a loved one and look at the time allocation,” she said.
Time allocation was one of two distinct aspects Ms Hunter Arscott focused on in her speech; the second phase was stakeholder feedback.
Again, she drew a parallel with the corporate world, where businesses find out how well they are doing and meeting expectations through feedback from clients.
“We ask ‘how are we doing?’ and then we work to close those expectations.”
It works in the business environment, but it’s something few do in their personal life where stakeholders can range from a spouse or a child, to a parent or community leader, according to Ms Hunter Arscott.
She suggested it would be useful to set up some time with these people to “ask them what their expectations are, and if you are not meeting them”.
And she said many men and women feel a sense of guilt about the amount of time they dedicate to work at the expense of their home life. They try to compensate by rushing home to be present when they can, but they are not performing optimally at home and may, for instance, be distracted or multitasking at dinner.
However, it does not have to be that way.
“You can invest time and energy into the people that are important in your life.”
Ms Hunter Arscott’s speech was well received at the 100WHF Bermuda gathering, which followed the Regulatory Compliance Association Symposium at the Fairmont Southampton earlier this month.
Allison Morrison, chairwoman of 100WHF Bermuda, said: “Christie was a very entertaining and engaging speaker and her topic on how to utilise your professional skills in your personal life resonated with everyone in attendance.
“We are so fortunate to have a successful young Bermudian speak to our group as part of our educational series.”
Ms Hunter Arscott was one of the first Rhodes Scholars to pursue a master’s degree in women’s studies at the University of Oxford. She took a second master’s degree, also at Oxford, in comparative social policy.
At the time her areas of studies left some people scratching their heads and wondering what career opportunities such specialisations would offer.
“People kept asking what was I going to do with it,” she said, referring to her academic studies.
However, such questions are no longer asked. At 31, she is an in-demand keynote speaker and independent consultant on topics such as millennials and diversity in the workplace.
As an entrepreneur she has notched a number of successes. She has been featured in, among others, Time, Forbes, Fortune, New York Magazine and The Washington Post, and last month had an article published in the prestigious Harvard Business Review.
She is also a World Economic Forum global shaper.
Her focus on women’s studies and social policy at Oxford, and gender and race relations as part of an earlier bachelor’s degree in political science at Brown University, Rhode Island, has given her a sphere of knowledge in diversity and inclusiveness that is in high demand.
“I specialised in something very niche and was able to accelerate my career path at the right time through hard work, some luck and mentorship from the people in my life,” she said.
When asked what set her on the path to where she is today, Ms Hunter Arscott recalled a time when she was 10 or 11 and a student at Bermuda High School for Girls.
“I was asked if I would consider being part of the public speaking team, and had to show a point of view on a topic that could be debated,” she explained.
In the course of doing research she asked at her church why women could not be ordained as priests.
“That is my first memory of caring about inclusiveness.”
Before becoming an independent consultant, Ms Hunter Arscott worked for many years at Deloitte Consulting, where she was deputy leader of the company’s US diversity and inclusion service offering.
Today, she splits her time between Bermuda and Boston. She is also a member of the Bermuda Business Development Agency’s LinkedIn group BDA Abroad, playing a part in spreading the word about the island in corporate and business circles.
Last week Ms Hunter Arscott met with the BDA team to learn more about the agency’s work attracting and retaining business for Bermuda.
Anyone seeking more information on the 100WHF Bermuda group should visit http://connect.100whf.org
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