“It’s important to just be yourself – people buy from people, be persistent and practice” – Briar Prestidge
Thanks so much for allowing us to interview you! You are a very busy and career focused woman. What has inspired you to continuously focus and want to thrive in your career?
I was never always as career focused as what I am now! The more I achieve, the more I ask, “ok now what next?” Following graduation in New Zealand, I ended up working two jobs as a waitress and nanny in Melbourne, and had trouble finding a job related to my field. I felt like `I had no focus, direction, and felt incredibly ‘stuck’! I suddenly heard about the J1 Visa to the USA, and thought – I’m going to move to New York. I started working 80+ hour weeks, saved enough money and moved 8 weeks later without knowing anyone. When I was pulling my suitcase through the busy streets of Manhattan, it was that moment in life when I realised I could do anything with hard work and determination. Every time I achieve something now, I think, ‘what next?’
We love that you’re a jetsetter! What do you think the key is to succeeding career wise in a new city/country?
I never thought I’d live in so many places! New Zealand, Melbourne, London, New York and now Dubai! I believe to succeed in a new country, it’s important to work hard, be kind to yourself and to appreciate that everything won’t be perfect straight away. From my experience in fact, it’s 6 months in after the ‘honey moon’ phase when it always starts to get tricky and lonely! Stay grounded by joining a sports team, or networking group as opposed to constant partying to make friends. Since you may know few people, take this as an opportunity to spend more time with yourself, developing positive thoughts, healthy habits and exploring the city.
Previous to recruitment, you were in real estate in NYC, you also studied speech pathology. Do tell us how your career transitioned over the years and your advice for anyone trying to branch away from their current role.
I’ve now learnt over the years to stop trying to ‘guess’ my career path! Although it was incredibly rewarding, I realised in my second year of Speech – Language Therapy degree that working in a hospital or therapy setting wasn’t for me. Though, I’ve vowed to become an advocate– there needs to be more awareness about how to best interact with people with communication difficulties.
When I moved to NYC, I got a job working as a waitress at a Manhattan classic called The Noho Star. After a few months, I felt like I was ready for a new challenge. As I’m a Kiwi girl from the countryside I’d fallen in love with the skyscrapers – some of the apartments were incredible! I studied my Real Estate licence and went on to do an internship.
Despite wanting to stay, my visa was only for one year and it’s incredibly hard for Kiwis to get sponsored – London would be my next move! Like a majority of people in the profession, I ended up ‘falling’ into recruitment. I wasn’t overly sure what I wanted to do career wise, so I was interviewing as a candidate with the recruitment agencies. I told them all the things I’d loved about real estate – business development, the hustle, chasing leads etc… all of them suggested a career in Recruitment!
Continually developing your emotional intelligence and ability to interact with people is key to success in any profession, so work hard on this! If you are wanting to change your current role it may take time, but persist! Take courses and do internships so you can prove your interest. All you need is one foot in the door.
We absolutely love your blog and Instagram feed. What prompted you to start your blog and how do you juggle your work as a recruiter and being an online blogger?
Thank you! I used to work in the Shard in London in an office of about 200 people so I used to love getting dressed up; chic work dresses made up a majority of my wardrobe! I’d always wanted a project but had been unsure specifically what for a long time. Despite the blogger space being somewhat saturated, I felt like there wasn’t much support in the business space. I write about sales strategies to close deals, or how to maintain your health and sanity while hustling. My most popular article is on overcoming Imposters Syndrome! Navigating your way through your career can be a confusing and disappointing (me in Melbourne!), but I truly believe that hard work, guts and continual learning is what gets you places.
Juggling everything is incredibly difficult and I have to be very strict with my time. I wake up at 5.30am to squeeze in some study for my digital marketing diploma, go to work, and then after work, do my blog. I’m a perfectionist, so it can be difficult to get things done fast! Time blocking in my diary has helped (I literally carry it around EVERYWHERE), and working ‘smart’ – no procrastinating, and prioritising what’s important. I play football (soccer) twice a week, and make time to catch up with friends.
Due to Deals in High Heels’ success and the recent launch of Briar Prestidge, my personal branding digital consultancy, I’ve now hired a social media manager to help. This is giving me more time to work on my partnerships with office fashion designers and entrepreneurs in the region. I’m very passionate about my blog and hope it inspires people with their careers.
You’re an avid reader, what are your top 3 book picks that women who want to succeed in business need to read?
I found ‘Women Don’t Ask’ by Linda Babcock outside my apartment in NYC which started my love for business or psychological books.
Linda explores the personal and societal reasons women seldom ask for what they need, want, and deserve at home and at work–and shows how they can develop this crucial skill. By neglecting to negotiate her starting salary for her first job, a woman may sacrifice over half a million dollars in earnings by the end of her career!
The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey is excellent. Stephen teaches us how to live with fairness, integrity, service, and human dignity — principles that help us adapt to change, and gives is power to take advantage of the opportunities that change creates.
I just finished reading Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill for the second time! It was written in the 1930s but I found it gave me a lot of food for thought.
Sales and business development is a huge part of any successful business person, were you always great at sales? What are your top tips to the girl that lacks confidence in her ability to SELL?
I used to be terrible at sales, especially cold calling which is a fundamental part of being a recruiter. But I made it my mission to learn everything I could, and was fortunate to have a very patient and hands-on manager. My advice is to not over-complicate things – ask lots of questions to work out what problems your client is facing. You are there to solve their problems with your product or service! Rather than talking about the features, discuss how it can benefit them. It’s important to just be yourself – people buy from people, be persistent and practice.
What role do you think corporate fashion has in success and do you think it is undervalued?
When I look good, I feel good and I bring my A-Game! Dress smart for work, not only for your clients but for yourself! It’s incredible the impact it will have. It’s been researched that what we wear at work actually influences our performance!
Lastly, what’s your ultimate piece of advice for women wanting to in the workforce?
We can do anything we put our minds to! Proactively drives your career or settle for mediocrity. Invest in yourself through personal development, and continually challenge the status quo. Lastly, nurture relationships for friendships, networking, wisdom and referrals.
My latest post of all the things I wish I could have told myself at the start of my career is here.