Ignatian Spirituality in the Workplace Part II – Reflections by Jane Belford (L’78)

The most recent Georgetown Alumnae Women and Wine program titled, “Spirituality in the Workplace” was held on May 8th and co-presented by Rev. Joe Lingan, S.J. and Jane Golden Belford (L’78), the former Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Washington and first woman appointed to this position.

Together, the two provided insights and suggestions on how to increase the spirituality quotient in our daily lives – be it in the boardroom, the classroom, or any room in which we work.

Mrs. Belford focused on the importance of having a commitment to a daily spiritual practice.  Start with prayer, and pray throughout the day.  On days that don’t seem to have the space, try this prayer: “Nothing is going to happen to me today that God and I can’t handle.”

Mrs. Belford provided the following “Top 10” on how to increase spirituality in your workplace:

10) Praise people before provide criticism or giving negative feedback.

9) Avoid gossip and negative language. And conversely, strive for excellence in all you do.

8) Forgive mistakes.

7) Smile. Peace begins here.

6) Make time for prayer.

5) Have dependence on God.

4) Have integrity and be honest. Be on time.

3) Be of service to others. A simple example is saying “hello and good bye” to colleagues.

2) Be grateful.

1) Set a good example of seeing God in others.


Guest blogger: Anneliesa Clump Alprin (G’06)
McDonough School of Business, Executive Masters in Leadership

For more information about the Women and Wine series and alumni spirituality programming, go to: http://alumni.georgetown.edu/spirituality


Ignatian Spirituality in the Workplace – Reflections by Rev. Joe Lingan, S.J.

Looking at the crowd of 125 alumnae gathered in Dahlgren Chapel, Rev. Joe Lingan, S.J. opens with questions:  Why are you here?  What are you looking for?  What are you hoping?

These simple and challenging questions provide a framework for the most recent Georgetown Alumnae Women and Wine program held on May 8th.  This program–co-presented with Jane Golden Belford (L’78), the former Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Washington–was titled, “Spirituality in the Workplace.”  Together, the two provided insights and suggestions on how to increase the spirituality quotient in our daily lives – be it in the boardroom, the classroom, or any room in which we work.

Father Lingan asks that as we “do,” we do so in the name of God. St. Igantius of Loyola (1491-1556), Founder of the Jesuits, urges one to see that God is present in ordinary experiences.  It’s less about setting up a dichotomy of “spiritual verse ordinary,” but throughout our days, we can’t but help to encounter the Divine, in small and significant ways.  He encourages us to look around. Be open. Be curious. Be grateful. Be generous.

Father Lingan suggests the New York Times best-seller, “Give and Take,” authored by Adam Grant and subtitled: Why helping others, drives our success. Father Lingan summarizes it by stating “generosity produces good work.”  And, good work, serving others, realizing one’s full potentially are all inter-related and components of a creating more spirituality in the workplace.


Guest blogger: Anneliesa Clump Alprin (G’06)
McDonough School of Business, Executive Masters in Leadership

For more information about the Women and Wine series and alumni spirituality programming, go to: http://alumni.georgetown.edu/spirituality

Building Relationships At Work


As smart, strategic, and successful as you may be, often times getting things done is all about relationships: who you know, who you work with, who you can trust, and who you can rely on.  Building successful relationships at work is critical to your success. The bottom line is that if people like you and respect you they will be more likely to want to work with you.  If they want to work with you, you will be more likely to get things done. In a nutshell, it comes down to being likeable.

Being “likeable” has seemingly taken on bad connotations in the workplace… that you can’t be powerful or a leader if you are too nice… But being likeable in the workplace has nothing to with being too nice and everything to do with being respected, smart, fair, and a functioning contributor to the organization.  And being nice too can’t hurt.

Being likeable doesn’t have to mean that you are always in a good mood, that you don’t have high expectations, that you agree with colleagues 100% of the time.  Perhaps we should re-define likeable in the workplace to be respected, smart, fair, and a functioning contributor to the organization.   Likewise, being successful or powerful doesn’t have to mean that you are cold, distant, and aggressive.

And being likeable means that if disagreement does occur, it is less likely to derail progress and goals.

So, the questions become:
How can you balance being likeable with pushing forward on your priorities?
How can you say no or disagree but still be maintain critical relationships in the workplace?
How can you create relationships that further your team and organizational goals?

1. Build your brand
Be aware of, and continue to build your personal brand in the workplace. What are you known for? How would colleagues describe you?  Are you known for building bridges? Being innovative?  Diligent? High level strategist or detail focused? Once you start to understand your current brand (go ahead, ask your colleagues!), you can begin to either tweak, change, or build your brand. Check out this ACS webinar on the subject.  Having a great personal brand in the workplace can create a solid foundation for building relationships.

2.  Check in and reach out
Even if you don’t have a project that interfaces directly with specific colleagues at that moment, chances are you will in the future so keep those relationships alive and well in the mean time. If you see an article that may be of interest to them, pass it along… If they are in the midst of hiring on their team, keep your network in mind… Celebrate their successes even if they have nothing to do with your team… Send them a quick note to say hello.

3.  Use humor as a bridge builder
Diffuse tense situations when appropriate with a bit of humor. Not a stand up comedian? That’s okay… At least be willing to laugh along with those who are!

4.  Have perspective taking skills
We often get so wrapped up in our own projects, priorities, and deadlines that we forget to actually hear and digest what people are saying – both overtly and subtly.  Are they in the midst of a high pressure project? Understaffed? Dealing with personal issues? Who are their key stakeholders and how do they differ from yours? Understanding the various perspectives at the table helps make things feel less personal if there is disagreement. Understand how your role fits in with the overall organization (and in relationship to other teams).

6.  Honesty is the best policy
Instead of beating around the bush with colleagues, give them your perspective up front. If you own your perspective up front and overtly acknowledge the fact that theirs may be slightly different, you move the conversation into compromise and discussion as opposed to defense.

7.  Get to know colleagues outside of work
While everyone is busy and has multiple commitments outside of the office, taking advantage of office social gatherings – whether that is eating lunch together or or going to the occasional happy hour, is important to your relationship building.

8.  Don’t burn bridges
As infuriating as colleagues can be, in a world that is all about who you know it’s never a good idea to burn bridges. Networks among people in an industry and/or employer can be strong – don’t underestimate them.

At the end of the day, you may not always make decisions in the workplace that make everyone happy. Colleagues may disagree with you, they may even adamantly disagree with you. But if your colleagues respect and trust you, it will make it that much easier to swallow.


How Your Mom Was Prepping You for Your Job Search Since You Were a Toddler


In honor of Mother’s Day, we thought we would do a little reflecting on how all those lessons your mom taught you way back when are still relevant  today [in your job search!].  Just one more reason why mom is always right!

1.  Say thank you.  
My mom always forced me to write thank you notes. And it was painful at the time. Who wanted to write a thank you note when you could be playing tag outside? And not only did I have to write the thank you note, I wasn’t allowed to use those cool “fill-in-the-blank” notes some kids had. I had to write something original!  Well, the same goes for your job search, and really your everyday professional life.  Say thank you. And say it meaningfully.  After a job interview, a thank you note is critical in sealing the deal with the employer. A strong and unique thank you note will set you apart from the competition.

2. You are awesome.
I’m sure your mom has always been your biggest fan. Channel that confidence when you are in a job search! Know that you have a set of unique experiences, skills, and education and know how that unique set of attributes sets you apart.

3. Stand up straight.
My mom always remind us to stand up straight, look people in the eye, have a firm handshake, and smile (oh, and don’t play with my hair!). Those things are critical in a job search to reflect confidence and poise.

4. The value of “little birdies.” 
Somehow my mom always found out about my latest antics by some anonymous “little birdie.”  Well, in your job search use those little birdies to your advantage.  Do your research into the company and position by talking to your own little birdies – friends and friends of friends – who already work there.

5. Treat others as you would like to be treated.
Remember – everyone you meet during a job interview is part of the interview – from the receptionist to the interview coordinator to the CEO. Remember, the interview starts when you walk in the door!

6. The power of the number 3.
As a mom, I have found that the threat of counting to 3 has some sort of magical hold on my toddler.  In your job search the number 3 is important too. Know your top 3 greatest strengths before going into an interview AND an example of each.  Don’t be afraid to count to 3 and collect your thoughts before you begin to answer a question.  And always bring at least 3 copies of your resume.

7. Respect your elders.
While your mom may have been referring to your grandparents, in this case I mean respect the experience of those who have been at the company/organization you are interviewing with. Find out what brought them there and what has kept them there.  Everyone likes to feel valued – ask them questions about their role and experience.

8.  This too shall pass.
The job search can undoubtedly be frustrating. But eventually the other piece of mom’s wisdom will prevail: anything worth having is worth working for and what is meant to be is meant to be.

We want to know: how has your mom influenced your career?
In honor of Mother’s Day, celebrate
! Visit: http://hoyamoms.tumblr.com/


image source: chattycathiechatters.wordpress.com