Why I can thank Disney for my Career

    Heather Mylan-Mains

    I love amusement parks. I especially love Disney amusement parks. I visit as often as I can. It’s my happy place! I transform into a kid ; playing, riding rides and giggling with all the other kids!  In fact, I can credit my love for Disney for my business analysis career.

    Listen for opportunities

    Some might say a person is lucky when opportunities find them. I think paying attention and listening is what leads to success for me. I listen, think, assess and say YES! Years ago, I was a new business analyst. Business analysis was a new career at my company, my background is accounting, I was figuring it out as I went. I was assigned to a business unit that was document intense working with an imaging system. I wanted to learn as much about the system and the business and was excited to attend the imaging system conference.

    The conference was in Nashville at the Opry hotel. The conference was expensive, I was able to get approval to attend. While I was there I heard about an opportunity to create industry specific user groups. There was a call for volunteers to lead the groups. One of the benefits for volunteering was attending the conference at no cost. Travel wasn’t reimbursed, AND the conference fee was waived. I was immediately interested. Was it because I wanted to come back to Nashville? No! The conference the next year was at the Swan and Dolphin in Orlando Florida on Disney property! Heck yes I was signing up!

    Take a Chance

    I had no idea what a user group was, but I was willing to try for the chance to get to Disney! I learned about leading the group and I was successful in establishing a community. It turned out I was a good leader, who knew? My leader was supportive, she encouraged me to stay involved and I was approved to attend the conference! It was an amazing conference and I learned so much and after I got to go to Disney! The conference was at the Swan and Dolphin for the next two years!

    This user group leadership opportunity was the reason my leader thought of me when she heard that there was a chapter in Des Moines for International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA ®  )looking for volunteers. She shared the opportunity with me. I listened, assessed and said YES. I continued to lead the vendor user group and attend conferences to learn the system, collaborate with others and added the Central Iowa IIBA chapter board position to my volunteering.

    Take Another Chance

    Joining the IIBA board changed my career. I entrenched myself in the local and international community and embraced the standards in the BABOK® . I sought business analysis training from an IIBA endorsed education provider. That training was a foundation to springboard my career. I stayed on the central Iowa IIBA chapter board and became president. Leading the chapter to be the highest growing chapter in 2011.  I left my company I had spent 17 years working at to start a consulting career in 2009. I continued to volunteer at the International level after the local board and currently I volunteer as a Director for the IIBA Board of Directors. I have been grateful to loving Disney so much I heard an opportunity and said yes so I could go.

    Make a Choice

    I had never done anything like lead a user group. I was unsure . I wanted to go to Disney so much I was willing to be uncomfortable. I didn’t over think or analyze it I simply said YES! I  saw an opportunity to embrace my inner child and have fun while figuring out my new career. This was my first choice.

    This choice gave me experience. I learned about user groups, leading and creating community.  This experience gave me confidence. My second choice was to say Yes to the opportunity to be on the local IIBA board. I had never attended a chapter meeting, I had never been on a board. I didn’t know what IIBA was!  I didn’t fully understand what a business analysis did, I was still learning.  I made a choice, took a chance and my career changed!

    Make a Change

    I entrenched myself in the board and learned about IIBA. I found mentors that helped me understand what board leadership is. I became a better business analyst. I learned how to manage a non-profit business when I became president.  Each change took courage. Each change built my confidence that I could change again and improve.

    Would I be where I am today if I hadn’t listened for opportunities that were unusual, so I could go to Disney World? I am not sure. What I do know is that my desire to go to Disney started a habit of volunteering, leading and learning that has changed me and my career! I am grateful I love being a kid again at Disney. Its part of the puzzle that completes my career!

    You must make a choice to take a chance or your life will never change.

    How are you completing your career puzzle? You must make a choice to take a chance or your life will never change. Listen for opportunities and have the courage to make choices to change. Who knows where your choices will take you?

    Heather

    A BA Without Borders

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