For many years after earning my MBA, I worked in a very male-dominated discipline and industry—finance within a transportation and logistics company. There were very few females in positions of power to learn from and to be mentored by. But I quickly learned that mentors are everywhere, and you can learn and grow in every situation.
I probably learned the most from two individual bosses; one good and one not so good. The “good boss” taught me the power of communication, team building and the importance of applying a critical thought process to each and every situation. The “bad boss” taught me how to deal effectively with difficult personalities and circumstances, and how to navigate the corporate political environment. You can learn just as much from a good boss as you can from a bad one—even if it is what not to do!
I also quickly learned that a great attitude is the key to success. Faced with difficult odds in succeeding in a predominately male-dominated industry, I chose to come to work every day with a positive attitude and a desire to succeed. Abraham Lincoln said, “Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other one thing.” You choose your attitude each and every day, and I’ve chosen a positive one—one that fosters great relationships both in and out of work.
I saw many of my male colleagues thrive professionally by taking calculated risks, while I also witnessed many of my female colleagues not willing to leave their comfort zones. Being open to new opportunities and taking on new and different responsibilities has served me well. I began my career in finance, and now I head up investor Relations and Global Communications for a multi-national consumer brand.
But the biggest lesson I’ve learned is to be myself and to have fun. Don’t try to be someone you’re not, or work in an environment that does not inspire and challenge you. And most of all—be happy. Life is too short not to be happy-love what you do, and do it well!