A Modus Operandi for the 21st Century Professional

Yesterday evening, I spent almost 3 hours brainstorming with two inspirational young women. We met to create a shared vision, combine our ideas, and pool our efforts to develop a new career and professional development group. The aim of this group is to respond to a need for a new level of professional support and collaboration that will help motivated professionals, like ourselves, skillfully and happily navigate our career paths.

About a month ago, the three of us, along with a group of diverse professionals, met for a Brazen Careerist Crowdsource Your Career Meetup.com event in the Triangle. Amazingly, professionals from all over the world coordinated to meet in their current cities to socialize, network and discuss the crowdsourced question: What does it mean to be in the driver’s seat of your life and career?

The latest Brazen Careerist Crowdsource Your Career events are happening tomorrow, September 22nd, when “groups all over the world will rally together to answer life’s hard-hitting questions”. Find a group meeting in your area.

I am ecstatic to witness and participate in this movement of mostly Gen Y professionals, who are setting an inspirational example for future generations, willingly asking themselves tough questions, sharing insights and support, and issuing a growing call to action for all professionals to take ownership of their careers!

The inaugural “Brazen” event revealed a genuine need for professionals to gather in a fresh and more intentional way. Personally, I had been feeling the need for more discussion, collaboration, and support among professionals in order to steer a more confident and authentic course through this new global workspace and economy. In fact, this website is a core part of my efforts to connect with other professionals and affect evolutionary change in perspectives, ongoing efforts, and support structures related to career and professional development.

My conversations with these two younger career travelers revealed similar interests, desires, and dreams for more connection and support. So, we made tentative plans to meet and explore insights and ideas geared toward realizing our shared mission.

Toward the end of our first official meeting this evening, I posed a question about the ultimate “vision” for our initiative. Of course, I, myself, did not have a clear answer when I asked that question!  However, as I drove home inspired and hopeful, a vision for an overall M.O. or Modus Operandi of the 21st Century Professional began to emerge.  Here’s my first draft:

I want to experience or at least help catalyze the movement toward a world forever influenced and revolutionized by:

  • Self-aware, confident, and informed professionals committed to life-long learning and development, who provide genuine value, make a difference, and joyfully earn ample income.
  • Inspired professionals, who embrace and intentionally design their career path, by exploring their life stories, interests, challenges, and strengths and collaborating with others in order to identify their unique and inspirational contributions, original ideas, and solutions that they can offer to the world.
  • Motivated professionals skilled at identifying, creating, and accessing useful resources, while building competence and supportive relationships to navigate through stuck places and challenges in their careers successfully and expeditiously.
  • Evolving professionals, who give priority to aiding other professionals through mentoring and connecting (i.e., sharing insights, useful perspectives, encouragement, and resources).
  • Proactive professionals committed to creating, sponsoring, supporting, and insisting on improvements of social structures and the creation of additional support services including space and opportunities to connect, collaborate, and share available resources that facilitate and support a pervasive experience of a fulfilling work life.

My dream and our shared vision is still developing. So, I (and I’m sure “we”) would love to hear and read about any thoughts, additions, or questions you have in response to the outline above.

  • What needs do you have as an evolving professional?

  • What new professional M.O. do you want to realize in your own life and career?

5 thoughts on “A Modus Operandi for the 21st Century Professional

  1. I could not agree more with Latoya. Though many seek meaningful careers that will impact their lives and others in a positive way, there are few outlets with which to network or explore this end. My strategy of late has been to network with like-minded professionals and build mentor relationships. I’ve found a great community in the NC Triad Young Nonprofit Professionals Network. I blog about the young professional seeking more at http://tlconnolly.wordpress.com/quarterlife-tango/
    I look forward to following your insights and progress on this worthy journey!
    Tara Connolly

  2. Great recap of our meeting! We should definitely keep these bullet points in mind when we are constructing our About Us Meetup page.

  3. Latoya J. Williams says:

    Hey Tara!

    Yes, meaning and authenticity in work has been growing as an expressed and vital need for many professionals. Discovering and creating ways for professionals to explore different paths, determine the contributions they want to make in the world, and then integrating the two through work is a really important part of my motivation.

    I’m happy to hear that you found a great community of professionals to interact with on you professional journey! I learned about the NC Triad Young Nonprofit Professionals Network at the first Brazen event in August. So, it’s great to hear about the peer and mentor relationships that your are building with other like-minded professionals.

    It’s great to know about your site too. I have visited and bookmarked it for ongoing reading and insight. 🙂 A more intentional and creative career and professional development process is definitely a worthwhile effort!

  4. Latoya J. Williams says:


    I really enjoy the organizational and planning aspects of group formation. A lot of creative forces get flowing when motivated people like you, Carlee, and I get together to brainstorm.

    One of the greatest books that I’ve read, The Fifth Discipline, by Peter Senge, emphasizes the importance of “vision.” Many groups (e.g., organizations, businesses) have both a “vision”, the larger level view of what an group wants to help realize, and a “mission”, the steps that the organization will take to get there.

    In that frame, what we talked about during the meeting is more of the “mission” aspect, the learning, activities, and relationships we want to help foster for ourselves and other interested professionals. So, when I asked each of us to think about “vision,” I was attempting to get at what I’ve described in this proposed MO. I was able to see and start to articulate my vision in the car on the way home.

    Career and professional development is an area that inspires me and I find worthwhile to direct my energy. So, it was great to ask the vision question for myself and to both of you. I think that it’s beneficial for any professional to develop both a vision and a mission statement for the professional area(s) that they choose to invest their time. So, I’m going to continue to ask this question of you all and myself as we get to know our individual vision and missions and create our shared one! 🙂

  5. Brianne says:

    I’m glad you will continue to ask the hard questions. I tend to let my ADD-esque tendencies get the best of me and often lose sight of the main objective which gets me nowhere but lost!

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