George Bernard Shaw once wrote, “People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. I don’t believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and if they can’t find them, make them.”

Growing up, I heard people referring to the business culture as being a “male-dominated world.” While this may have been true in the past, I am living proof that women can be just as, if not more, successful than men. During my career I have had many obstacles, including being sexually harassed and verbally abused. I cannot say that this did not upset me and make me feel degraded as a human being, because it absolutely did, but through the support of loved ones I was able to rebuild my confidence. This taught me that in order to succeed in my career and in life I needed to believe in myself.

The mind does not know the difference between a negative and a positive thought but it works hard to help you accomplish whatever goal you set. Dr. Norman Vincent Peale said, “If you think in negative terms, you will get negative results. If you think in positive terms, you will achieve positive results.” It is not difficult to let life defeat you. It was not until I started to take control of my career and my thoughts that I was able to make a positive difference in my life.

When I think about my career, I often think about what I will tell my son to help him succeed in life. The overall message I would give him is that the only thing guaranteed in life is that you will face obstacles. These obstacles can either serve as a message that you cannot accomplish something or as a tool to help you improve and excel. The obstacle itself is not clearly positive or negative. It is your belief about the obstacle that puts parameters on it. If you choose to excel, then never lose sight of your goals. If you focus on your goals, you will see the learning that the obstacle presented and it will make you stronger than ever before.

Has discrimination affected you as a woman in the workplace? How did you deal with it?

Discrimination was a big problem early in my career because I was not treated like my male counterparts. This greatly affected my self-confidence. In my opinion, women tend to have more self-confidence issues because of the perceived pressures that society places on how we should look and act. It wasn’t until I was able to free myself from these notions that I was able to grow both professionally and personally.