During my career, I have had the privilege of mentoring many young women and men. Ultimately, the advice I give each of them remains the same:
- Reach outside of the box to discover new directions and ignite a new passion.
- Carry through to prove yourself and demonstrate your competencies.
- Passionately drive for the things you believe in.
- Be humble enough to count on family and friends for support and motivation.
These principles are ones that I have lived by my entire life.
Growing up in a small steel-manufacturing town in Illinois, I learned early on the importance of a strong work ethic, a close support network and a connection to one’s community. But I also learned how crucial it is to step outside of your comfort zone in order to pursue your goals. Although it was an unconventional route at the time for women, I followed my aptitude for math and finance to obtain a degree in business at the University of Illinois.
While there were only a few women peers, the class make-up was not important toward pursuing my dreams and goals. That scenario prepared me for entry into the business world where I learned the only limits to your dreams and goals are those you place on yourself.
Many people contributed to my success in significant ways. My parents always insisted on the best from us, and school counselors encouraged us to expand our vision of potential paths. Managers and mentors, many of whom I met at Eaton Corporation, gave me opportunities to be on their teams, which I jumped at, eager to broaden my skills. I became its first woman officer in 1991.
Obtaining work-life balance is all about making time for others– your family, friends, and community. Since family life is such an important dimension, finding high quality childcare options is a top priority. I am also dedicated to encouraging young women and girls to pursue careers involving math and science, targeting community outreach endeavors involving speaking to students about careers using these important skills. The ultimate legacy will be teaching those succeeding us the philosophies that underpinned our success.