In celebration of Women’s History Month, we are highlighting the successes of associates from around the world. Below, Mischelle Choinski, Group Vice President, managing a business unit in Products & Services, shares the story of her unique career and what she enjoys most about life at Gartner, and offers up career advice for others looking to grow professionally.
Mischelle’s Career Story
I first began my career as a U.S. Marine, working in communications and intelligence. I was able to enter the technology space, diversifying my career by working in application development and leading a team of developers during the early stages of artificial intelligence and as an IT leader. I later ventured into developing my own product, which led me to Xerox and eventually to Gartner. I have now been with Gartner for over 18 years and have held a number of positions within the organization.
During my first 15 years here, I had the opportunity to take on several roles. I started as a sales person and then worked my way up in leadership from Area Manager, Senior Area Manager, Area Vice President, Regional Vice President to Managing Vice President in the United States. I have been in Products & Services as Group Vice President for nearly four years now, leading the fourth-largest product business unit in Gartner.
Mischelle’s Life at Gartner
I was approached by recruiting at Gartner to talk to the public-sector sales team. My husband and I were in the planning phase of trying to adopt our children, but international travel kept delaying our processes. No one had ever asked what was most important to me. Gartner did. I wanted to become a mother and needed time to adopt our children. I was intrigued by the well-known brand and of everyone who talked to me about joining the team. I knew it was a place where I could learn every day and be stimulated by being around so many top performers.
I currently work in our global headquarters in Stamford, CT. Gartner’s culture aligns to our external brand — an organization of high integrity and ethical performance. We are always growing, making each office a set of mini-cultures that are developed by the people in it. Within our business unit, we have nearly tripled our business over the course of three years. We are a high-performing team, ensuring everyone is contributing to make the business better and better, but still having fun while we do it.
Gartner’s culture starts with our people first. We are always learning or coaching one another, developing an invigorating atmosphere of being surrounded by and working with the very best. I hear often from new hires that they have never been in an organization like Gartner, where everyone is willing to help you be successful. Many of our associates can join the team and use their previous experiences and unique perspectives to help their clients with what matters most while leveraging the most powerful depth of research of assets for nearly any business challenge on earth, no matter the economic condition and region in the world.
Mischelle’s Career Advice
Have boundaries: It is virtually impossible to not think about life when we work. There are times when work and life are nearly interwoven, but we should work hard to develop clear boundaries. When I first came to Gartner, my husband and I were making plans to adopt our children from Russia. Gartner supported our process and gave me the time that was needed. I volunteered and was a room parent every year of my children’s primary years, but I also ensured my performance on any level was at my very best. My children are now 18 and graduating from high school this June.
Set goals and stay prioritized to achieve: Organize all things that you think you need to do by priority — this will help you actually achieve your goals. Weigh the economic worth of each goal and deprioritize things that are not necessary or can be put off. The next step toward success is executing on your goals, measuring the impact and analyzing what you’ve learned. It’s important to be accountable, but don’t try to do everything yourself. No one at Gartner has been successful by themselves.
Don’t be afraid to innovate: The corporate world is moving at a fast pace. Every role in the corporate world requires innovation on every level. The word “can’t” is not in the dictionary. Think about how to make something work versus why something cannot be done. Innovation comes from trying to make something work — some of the greatest innovations came from solving problems, not from trying to innovate.
Have pride: Have pride in your work, relationships, building of partnerships and the way you present yourself every day. Be open to learning from others — including other women. In an environment where everyone is a top-quartile performer, everyone has a strength — take time to find it in people. Sometimes you don’t know what you don’t know.
Give yourself choices for what comes next: I received this advice from a senior sales leader many years ago. He had asked me what the next step in my career was and I didn’t know how to respond. I had never had ambition for a specific position or career path. However, I knew that I wanted to make an impact aligned to my personal sense of purpose. My general advice is to follow your passions and be flexible; the path to success is not always a straight line — but always develop your skills to give yourself choices on what comes next.
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