Getting Comfortable with the Uncomfortable: Advancing Your Career
Updated: Apr 29
This article is part of our Women in Partnerships series, highlighting female professionals in the partnerships space. To learn more about the series and the Women in Partnerships group, check out the series intro.
Today, Danica Murphy joins us to discuss a tough (but crucial) career decision, excelling in the industry without female mentors, and advice for other partnerships professionals.
Danica Murphy is a Director of Business Development at Udemy for Business, where she heads up business development and partnerships. At Udemy, Danica focuses on three partnership pillars: enabling technology integrations, expanding global reach via resellers, and building strategic relationships with select Fortune 500 companies.
Making it as a Manager
Danica shared that she’s most proud of her transition from Account Executive, to a Sales Manager role at getAbstract. “I inherited a low-performing sales team consisting of my former peers and I had to make hard decisions on who could be coached to better performance and who we needed to let go. I led a sales transformation to build a stronger, more cohesive, and experienced sales team with a mix of six account executives and account managers.”
Danica’s sales transformation was incredibly effective. “Our newly formed team ended up exceeding our team sales quota and that year was capped off with earning the ‘Wonder Woman’ award at our SKO. That recognition from our executive team for my efforts meant the world to me.”
Getting Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable
Danica was crushing it as a Sales Manager at getAbstract when she decided to make a tough career decision. “When I decided to leave getAbstract for Udemy, I moved from a sales leadership position to an individual contributor business development role. This was a risky move for me in part because I transitioned from a successful sales-focused career path. Ultimately, it was the right choice for me since I have learned so much and expanded my skill sets to become a more versatile professional.”
In making this decision, Danica was inspired by Laila Ali. “She talked about how whenever she feels too comfortable, she finds ways to get uncomfortable again. Now, I proactively look for ways to get uncomfortable and continue to grow.”
The Importance of Advocating for Yourself
As a woman in the industry, specifically coming from sales, Danica shared that there have been times where she’s felt that she has to work harder to prove herself than her male counterparts. Through that, “I’ve also come to recognize that I have to be my own advocate and ask for what I want whether it’s a raise, promotion, or resources for a specific project. No one else is going to look after your best interests better than you can, so learning how to advocate for yourself is crucial.”
Unfortunately, Danica didn’t have any professional female mentors to help her work through those scenarios specific to women. However, she has been lucky to have some incredibly supportive male mentors. “One example is my former manager at getAbstract, Norman Auerbach, who encouraged me to move beyond my comfort zone to help me unlock my potential and realize what I am capable of accomplishing when I put my heart and mind to it. He put the right amount of pressure on me to find my edge and push past it. That’s where the real growth happens.”
In her role today, Danica shared that Udemy is very conscious about filling gaps and bringing in women leaders. “We are fortunate to have women leaders in senior-level positions at Udemy. We still have gaps in some departments but I know that our company is intentionally trying to fill roles with more women leaders and I appreciate that.”
Advice for Other Partnerships Professionals
Danica emphasized the importance of ongoing education for professionals in partnerships. “Have an always-learning and growth mindset. Read widely and network with others in our field to learn from their experiences. Be a sieve for knowledge.”
Reiterating from Danica’s experience transitioning to Udemy, you have to push yourself. Remember, when you’re starting to get too comfortable, it’s time to get uncomfortable again.
The Importance of Groups Like Women in Partnerships
On Women in Partnerships, Danica shared, “It’s heartening to have a like-minded community of women to connect with. With so few women in business development and even less so in leadership roles, it’s wonderful to have this group to relate to and support one another.”
That’s why we’ve created this group, specifically for women in the industry to see what they can do in their future careers, get tactical advice from others who have been there, and support one another. Partnership Leaders enables personal and professional development for professionals in partnerships. Learn more about the benefits of Partnership Leaders and other programs like Women in Partnerships.