Book review: Heels of Steel

Updated: Apr 7, 2021

Surviving and thriving in the corporate world by Vanessa Vallely


Are you a student or graduate?

Are you unsure about your career path?

Are you looking for your next career role?

Are you in the early years of your career?

Are you confused about your next steps for career progression?

Do you have years of experience under your belt working in the corporate world?

Do you want to have a successful and fulfilling career?

Are you a lover of good books?


If you answered YES to any of the questions then Vanessa Vallely's Heels of Steel is a MUST read! Vanessa shares her experience of successfully working up the corporate ladder to C-suite in the most captivating way.


In her book about thriving in the corporate world, Vanessa paints a vivid picture of what it is like to work in an industry mostly dominated by men in London financial district. She captures your emotion as you read through the pages where Vanessa and her Mum had to do everything possible so her family could stay afloat. Not forgetting her background she tells stories about her family, childhood, and tradition with plenty of humour.


Available on Amazon and Kindle. Click here


Vanessa is a great storyteller, not only does she talk about her career journey of 25 years in finance and technology. She shares her challenges, biggest learnings, and alternative course of action to frequent career mistakes. In a peculiar fashion, Vanessa calls her readers to take action by providing a relevant framework, tools, and resources for managing their career, profile, personal brand, and network.


Here are my key takeaways:


1. Have a vision of what you want for your career, don't be vague about it! Vanessa's imagination of working in one of the offices at London Financial District wearing suits - that dream was the vehicle she used to drive herself to the pinnacle of the corporate world without a degree!



2. Map out your career plan and leave room for detours. Think long term but focus on short term actions. A whole session in the book is dedicated to career development toolkit, Vanessa shares valuable framework on how to write personal mission statement, how to create your career plan, and your network of champions.



3. Be willing to take risk. Take stock of your learnings, restrategise, and try again!

"My view is that when risk don't pay off you take stock, think about the learning, dust yourself off and put your heels of steel back on because life invariably goes on."

4. Be a lifelong student. Invest time to learn subject matters directly or indirectly related to your career role.


5. Go the extra mile, it's not crowded there. When you deliver beyond expectations on projects, or go outside the confines of your task/team to support other teams, your career progresses beyond annual pay rise.


6. If you want to go far, go together. Build your tribe of supporters and mentors who you trust to advise you or support you to develop the skills you need to achieve your aspiration. BLIX Network offers career mentoring and coaching for free! Click here


7. We are bonded by our shared experiences as humans despite our individual difference and hardship. Make a conscious effort to meet people from different ethnic backgrounds or culturally diverse folks such experience will help to challenge any of your unconscious biases.


8. Always celebrate your wins. No matter how small, take time to process your success and shout about it!


9. Be part of the solution. Volunteer your time to causes you care about outside your career that will greatly help your emotional intelligence.

"Am a true believer that small endeavours by many can make big changes in the world."

10. Elevate others. Play a role in other people's success no matter how small.


Heels of Steel is one book that wouldn't be collecting dust on any bookshelf. There are many lessons, tips, and tools you can use to tailor your own career success.


Vanessa will be the keynote speaker at BLIX online event -The Power of Profile. You can book your ticket here. It's FREE!

Areas that will be covered at the event:

- How to raise your personal profile to attract better opportunities.

- How to build a strong network of mentors and sponsors.

- How to stand out in the corporate world and be known as the thought leader in your area of expertise.


See you there!

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