Based in Brussels, Dorothy is a Global Talent Management Strategist, Coach & Trainer, and supports gender bilingualism. She is constantly being sought after for her thought leadership on executive placement and career advancement. I met Dorothy when she came to speak to us during one of my MBA classes at École des Ponts Business School in Paris.
She shared insights on how to enhance our online profile to maximize our chances of landing our dream jobs. Her advice and tips were instrumental in helping my classmates and I book interviews with top companies and ultimately, land jobs with these top companies. I’m excited to feature her on the F.I.V.E Questions with an Entrepreneur series.
- Briefly describe how you got started. What is the most exciting or rewarding aspect of what you do? What could make it even more exciting or rewarding?
I have two business lines in the HR consulting sector. One is gender neutral and the other is for gender balance. They frequently overlap!
My early career was in Corporate HR in the steel and television industries. None of this was particularly out of the ordinary, although I enjoyed early career success, rising to second in command of a large HR department before I was 30. I decided to move to Luxembourg (with my now ex-husband!) taking a leap with no job to go to. Ladies do not do this today! I joined an office services start-up in the embryonic financial services sector. My interview question was could I “answer the phone.” I said I could, even though I spoke very little French at the time.
Here I graduated from general factotum to become the Sales and Marketing Director.
Sometime later our family relocated to Brussels, where I found an opportunity to combine my newly acquired European sales experience with my HR background in an executive search company. It meant going to the bottom of the pile (again!) to update all my skills. After a few years working for someone else, I branched out on my own, offering international executive search and research services on a global market.
I had qualified as a corporate trainer and coach at the beginning of my career, training with Sir John Whitmore (before he became Sir). When the global recession came in 2007/2008 there was a renewed demand for career coaching. I went back to college and re-certified. I wanted to make sure I was completely current. I then formally added coaching to my service offerings.
As an early adapter to social media, I could see the potential of it immediately. I grew a reputation of being an expert in the field in relation to HR and career issues. I wrote an award winning blog and developed training programs for organisations and job seekers on Personal Branding and job search. I then added training to my repertoire list, completing the circle to my post- graduation skill set.
Coaching women and promoting gender balance is something I have always believed in. I established 3Plus International which supports gender balance in the workplace offering services in recruitment, coaching and training to support organisations who want to strengthen the female talent pipeline.
I love the variety of what I do and how all the elements feed into each other and overlap.
Going forward, I need to write a book – that would be really exciting and rewarding. Currently I am very operational, which I enjoy, but I should make time to step back.
2. Flash back and then fast forward to the present, what has surprised you the most about mastering your unique set of skills and what advice do you have for others looking to master similar skills?
I think what surprised me was the social media element. I just got it. It came easily to me and I was able to pick it up and adapt what I needed to know and reject what I didn’t. I am not a particularly intuitive learner, but was able to play around and understand the basics and even the more advanced aspects pretty quickly.
Truthfully, it’s not that the skill is vital in in itself. It’s not at all. For younger generations it’s in their D.N.A. But what it represents is a mind-set. When I go into business schools and the class sees my age, they are always surprised. But it’s a great marketing and teaching message. If I can get it – how easy will it be for you?
So my advice is whatever is new – explore, learn and try. You never know what will happen. Be open! Be very careful before you rule anything out. I found out that I am very adaptable can re-invent myself. If I can do it – so can you.
I think never being afraid about going back to basics and not letting ego interfere is important. I have done that twice in my career.
3. What is your unfair advantage and what would your best customers or clients say are the main reasons they do business with you?
I don’t have an unfair advantage. I don’t believe in that. All the skills I’ve acquired have been via hard work, flexibility and energy. As a woman in the steel industry you can imagine what that was like! My clients say they work with me because I am efficient, direct and fun. Life is too short not to enjoy what you are doing. For executive search I have strong sales skills, so can coach my team. Having a visible international online profile helps. I rarely have difficulty getting candidates to take my calls.
On the coaching side if I have done my job well, I don’t need to see clients again because they have the necessary skills for life. They know what they need to do. I usually see them for an annual session which is a happy/sad feeling.
4. Reflect on all of the key sacrifices and trade-offs you’ve had to make to get to where you are today. Which of these would you say was the most pivotal and why?
I don’t feel as if I have made trade-offs in the past and definitely no sacrifices. I made a decision to be trailing spouse years ago. But although I exited my HR career, I started a career in sales. I would certainly advise women to be more strategic than I was, which is advice I conveyed to my own daughter when she recently relocated to the U.A.E.
But despite everything, that was possibly the most pivotal moment. If we hadn’t moved internationally, I would have had a very different career path, probably in U.K. based H.R. It has taken me down a very different route where I have learned languages and skills I possibly would have never needed to learn. I have had the advantage of living in a number of different countries and being truly multi-cultural.
I am perhaps making more trade-offs today. Many of my friends are starting to take long trips and vacations. If you run your own businesses you can never check out totally. When I travel, the first thing I ask about in a hotel is not the bed, but the wifi connection! I’m like Miranda in Sex and the City!
5. What is the best piece of actionable advice that you’ve received that not only influenced your decision to launch your business, but also continues to be source of inspiration?
The best advice I would give is centered around self-awareness. Do your inner work. Know yourself, your strengths, weaknesses and core values. Make sure you have cover for the things you are not so good at. Trust yourself and stay centered. If something feels off – it probably is – listen to your gut instincts. Never stop being open to learning something new. That is linked to your faith in yourself and your ability to make the right choices. This fosters consistency, which feeds trust from others. Just because you don’t know about it now, doesn’t mean to say you never will.
My one actionable tip: do your inner work!
“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom” Aristotle
Dorothy Dalton Biography
Dorothy works globally in talent management strategy and coaching, covering the whole spectrum of career transition challenges from “hire to retire” in coaching and executive search. An Economist and CIPD Associate, she has placed, trained and coached thousands of men and women in her career, working with leading international companies and organizations. She is a certified Coach (Cognitive Behavior) and trainer including e-learning.
She has successfully combined an early career in corporate H.R. with a stint in European Sales and Marketing before moving into global Executive Search and HR Consulting, running two businesses as an entrepreneur. She has lived and worked internationally throughout her career and has strong cross-cultural exposure.
Co-Founder and CEO of 3Plus set up to support organizations develop their female talent pipelines to achieve gender balance, as well as supporting individual women professional women to advance their careers. 3Plus offers career and leadership and coaching as well as mentoring services. She created the 3Plus eGazine and online resource for professional women with daily posts and the 3Plus Mini-Mentoring event already held in different locations in Europe and U.S.A.
Digitally savvy, with an internationally-recognized blog on career transition and a strong niche-market social media presence (a ranked coach, recruiter and HR influencer on Twitter) Dorothy successfully embraced new technology to combine the best of old-style methodologies with the new. She is a VIP blogger for HR Tech World, speaker and contributor on HR and workplace trends. She is also a visiting career coach for the MBA and Executive MBA programs of top tier business schools.
Check out this great interview with Dorothy Dalton on Youtube.