“We’re trying to build a culture of excellence, to build a perennial playoff team. Ultimately, the goal is to bring the MLS Cup back to Colorado.”
Just six months ago, Ena Patel was a tax law professional. She’s now the Director of Player Personnel for the Colorado Rapids, becoming the highest-ranking female executive in a technical role in Major League Soccer.
“I grew up in a pretty traditional Indian family, filled with doctors, engineers, finance majors … there were definitely ideas of a ‘traditional path’ that my parents had for me.”
After graduating law school and spending considerable time in her field, Patel came to a realization.
“Even though I spent years in the Bay area practicing international tax law, my underlying dream was not going away. Is wasn’t until I landed this role that I stopped looking for my next.”
So far, Patel is adjusting well to her new role. Her responsibilities include handling player contracts, salary budgets, compliance with regulations, and soccer operations for the team.
Despite the tall expectations that come with the role of the highest-ranking female executive, Patel remains grounded and insightful. When asked if she could provide any tips for women in the workplace, Patel passionately weighed in.
“When I was younger, I thought networking was attending events, handing out resumes, meeting as many people as possible. Over the years I realized it’s not about the number, it’s about forming meaningful relationships for the long-term.”
Focusing on quality over quantity, Patel nurtures lifelong connections with friends and cohorts around the world. Building a healthy social circle is certainly beneficial, but what about personal career advice? We asked Patel about one of the more challenging, and sometimes uncomfortable, steps on the professional pathway forward – salary negotiation.
In a survey published by Glassdoor, only 32% of women negotiated their salary, compared to 48% of men. Patel’s advice is simple and blunt.
“Always ask for what you want. Don’t ever be afraid of that. The worst they can say is no, right?”
Patel certainly seems to have followed her own advice. After conquering law school and international tax law, Ena stands at the helm of opportunity. Still settling into her role, she maintains a healthy outlook on the future of the Colorado Rapids and this new phase in her professional life.
What do you think of Patel message? Do you have any career advice of your own for women in the workforce? Share your thoughts below.
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