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How Atwell provides an ideal environment for learning, connecting, and advancing your career
With only three years at Atwell, Kristen Baumgardner, Environmental Consultant, is considered a rising star within the permitting team and the company. Her passion for her work, along with her hunger for learning, has granted her access to growth opportunities and mentorships from leadership. Here, she shares her insights from her time as a new employee, as well as some tips for success that can be applied at any stage of your career.
After graduating with a degree in financing and accounting, I knew I loved puzzles. When it came time to make a transition from a former company to Atwell, there was one thing I was searching for: more puzzles! In other words, I wanted to be challenged, learn about all the markets we serve at Atwell, and dive into new projects. Joining Atwell came with those puzzles I was looking for in project work, but I still felt the drive to find more.
I am approaching my three-year anniversary at Atwell and feel so grateful for all the opportunities I’ve had thus far. My skillset has expanded with each new role and new task I was given. It didn’t just happen, however. There were three essential actions I took and continue to take to grow within the company. Those three things are:
1. Constantly advocating for myself
I believe it is my responsibility to seek my own career growth. With that belief in mind, I’ve done my best to say yes, probably more often than I should. When I started with Atwell, I wanted to learn more and figure out which team I really wanted to join, and what type of work would be the most engaging. Thus, I said yes when possible and asked for work when I had additional time in my week.
2. Working with mentors who are willing to invest in me
I have been fortunate to work with more than one leader since I started at Atwell. With each new leader, I viewed them as my mentors and asked them for advice on how to move up in the company. I also took time to learn, observe, and say yes in more than one context. Simply asking, “What else can I take on?” brought me into the permitting space in which I am flourishing. Today, I feel privileged to work closely with Anne Polakowski, Project Manager, in the permitting space as we partner on the continued success of our energy client.
3. Conversations about career growth and trajectory
Bringing this topic to each one-on-one with my leader made all the difference. Keeping my goals at the forefront of those conversations meant it was more than just an annual conversation. My leader and I wrote down my goals, and I kept them in front of me to make sure I accomplished them and stayed on the path toward my next goal. It was clear that I was motivated, and I remain motivated to learn more, move up in the company, and advance my career at a more rapid pace.
For anyone who may be new to Atwell, or who wants to start thinking seriously about their career advancement here, I have three pieces of advice: Ask and you shall receive, especially when it comes to asking for more work. Second to this, say “Yes!” as much as you can. Keep in mind that Atwell wants to support you professionally and personally, so jump on the projects that will stretch you and seek out mentorships in the areas in which you’d like to see your own growth. Finally, ask your leader questions about how to advance within the company. You may think you know the answers, but your leader has the insight and experience to offer so that you don’t have to learn the lessons on your own. Make these conversations frequent and keep your goals included in the conversation.
Overall, know that the opportunities for you to excel and grow are out there—you just have to take advantage of them.