C-suite career advice: Susan Bowen, Cogeco Peer1

We ask industry leading C-suite professionals for their expert career advice...

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Susan Bowen

 Company: Cogeco Peer1

 Job Title: VP and General Manager, EMEA

 Location: London, UK


What was the most valuable piece of career advice that you received?
Don’t be afraid to be different and challenge the “norm” but also make sure you are not dismissive of the effort made by others to get to the “norm”. When I first started in the industry it took me a while to find my voice and to share my ideas in the right way.

What was the worst piece of business advice that you received?
Lean in”; I simply do not agree that this is always required or the best approach.

What advice would you give to someone starting their career in the tech industry?
Tech enables and changes how we all live, work and play. Sometimes the fast pace of the technology industry can be overwhelming and it can be all-consuming. Remember that it is important to play, work and live.

What tips would you give to someone aiming for a c-level position?
Creating and maintaining your personal network is critical. Every day I challenge myself to connect with different people from a diverse set of industries, backgrounds, experiences and roles. From Chef’s to Chief Technology Officers to Charity volunteers. The diversity helps me to see through a vast array of lenses; helping to find solutions to problems faster, quicker and more creatively. It also keeps me curious and interested.

Are you particularly proud of any career advice that you’ve given or the career route/development of anyone you’ve mentored?
I have always mentored individuals to be clear on what they want to achieve. Particularly in large corporate organisations there is a tendency to encourage people to drive their careers in a certain way i.e. “being a sales person first”. I strongly believe that you can get to a C-Level position without necessarily following a pre-determined route. Simply focus on picking up new skills and developing your strengths. Go in the direction that feels instinctively right for you; everyone is different and has a different motivation at different times in their lives.