Throughout my life, I’ve had a long list of great mentors starting with my parents. My dad died following a farming accident when I was 10. I still remember the important life lessons he taught me.
- Be happy in your work.
He began his career as an accountant and became a farmer in his late 30s.
- Stand up for what you believe.
- Be someone that others know they can rely upon.
- Gain support through your deeds, not by threats.
My mom became a school teacher after my father’s death. She led by example, treating everyone fairly and living life in a strong ethical fashion. She often told me, “losing your reputation is easy, gaining it back is hard – so protect it always.” At COUNTRY Financial, I became our first female vice president after moving through the ranks of our information technology area. I then ran one of our business lines and later became COO, overseeing all of our business operations.
During my years at COUNTRY, I have had exceptional mentors who showed me the importance of:
- hiring on potential and hiring tough so managing becomes easier. (Hiring decisions are one of the most important aspects of management.)
- ensuring teams reflect diversity of thought and express a wide range of views on any issue so the best decisions can be made;
- creating and experiencing mini-crises along the way so a major crisis can be prevented in the end;
- knowing people often remember the little things we do every day more than the big things we do once in awhile;
- and understanding that others watch what we do more than what we say.
I have been very blessed in my life and believe it is important to give back to others. For me, giving back means mentoring others,volunteering in our church or community, providing industry leadership, and being there for our families. It is a joy to be in a position where I can now help mentor others so they can attain the same degree of satisfaction from their careers that I have realized.