Denver consultant leads workshop about professional reputation

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If you go

What: Workshop with professional development trainer Shari Harley, hosted by the Young Professionals Network

When: 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday

Where: Steamboat Springs Community Center

Cost: $25 for YPN members,

$50 for nonmembers

Contact: Space is limited. RSVP to Marion Ayer, of the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association, at marion@steamboatc... or 970-875-7008

— It's no secret that in a small town like Steamboat Springs, everybody knows everything about you.

That can make balancing social and professional lives challenging for workers of any age, but especially for young employees learning how to build a career, Shari Harley said.

"Word travels in a small town : so if you're out late and you're seen really inappropriately dressed, or you're really drunk at an event, people make judgments about that - it's not fair, but it's what happens," said Harley, a consultant in professional development and career management. "Everything makes an impression, and in a small town, you have to be very careful, unfortunately."

Harley is leading a workshop from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday at the Steamboat Springs Community Center to teach local professionals strategies to manage their reputation and build their careers.

Harley, 38, is based in Denver. On her Web site, www.shariharley.com, she touts 15 years of experience in "developing talent in Fortune 50 companies."

She said one of the top mistakes she sees is people failing to proactively advance their careers.

"I think people wait to be discovered, and they wait for opportunities to come to them, thinking that if they work really hard and do good work, people will notice them - and it doesn't work that way," Harley said. "People who do well to develop their careers promote themselves in a way that doesn't look like self-promoting, and that's a skill."

Harley said one way to improve your reputation is to stop gossiping about others.

"Gossip is really a killer of careers and organizational cultures, and in a small town, it's pervasive," she said.

Marion Ayer, finance and human resources director for the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association, said she decided to book Harley after talking with a woman who brought Harley to an Aspen young professionals' group.

"She just absolutely raved about it - they completely sold it out in Aspen, and everybody that went : they raved," Ayer said. "Through hearing about that from a very similar town to ours : I thought that would be a very good thing to bring here."

Harley said she is a stand-up comedian on the side and promised an "eye-opening," informative event Saturday.

"People will leave with tools and insights they had no idea about," she said. "I've figured out how to play the game."

The Young Professionals Network event is hosted by the Chamber, Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. and Peabody Energy, operators of Twentymile Coal Co. The cost is $25 for YPN members and $50 for nonmembers.

Ayer said people who register by Friday would be entered in a drawing for a personal career management and coaching session with Harley, which is valued at $250.

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