Leadership has been a journey and learning opportunity for me. When I began my career at Parker twenty-nine years ago, my future was unclear. Looking back, I realize that choosing a company with values and ethics that mirrored my own was essential.

As I worked through various positions within the company, I discovered my passion for leading and mentoring others. In my first leadership position, I quickly learned that respect is earned through words and actions, not years of experience or a title. As I took on broader scopes of responsibilities, I was able to recognize my own inexperience which required me to ensure my team excelled in their individual roles. I began to focus on our collective expertise as a high-performing team and the importance of each individual’s contributions. Through this experience, I learned that team members who trust and respect each other will consistently meet or exceed their objectives as a high-performance team. I’ve seen this manifest through my participation as a board member of a company joint venture—a leadership team with different experiences, from various regions around the world, working together successfully toward a common objective.

I find being a mentor a rewarding experience. I’ve enjoyed participating in formal mentoring programs where I’ve had the opportunity to share my experience with aspiring leaders and experienced leaders hired into the company and help them assimilate into their new roles. I continue to actively participate in being a mentor to those around me. I believe it is a mutual learning opportunity.

I recognize that my personal life factors into who I am in the work environment. I have a wonderful family, supportive of my desire to work outside the home. I have a special needs son who has taught me much more than my years of work experience. How he handles daily challenges and his determination to continually learn new skills has developed his character and mine as well. His personality is engaging and draws others to support him as he earns their respect through his actions and behaviors.

As I continue in my career and use my experiences to develop my leadership skills, it is my desire to continue to help others in return and be an example for all I work with: my customers, peers, and team members.

How has education affected your career?

University education set the foundation for my career. Other formal classes, special projects, and job opportunities also helped form my educational background. All of these are important to broaden my experience and to prepare me for greater levels of responsibility.

What advice would you give young women building/preparing for a career?

Establish mentors that have similar values to your own and can provide you guidance and coaching throughout your career. Mentors can take many forms, but should be someone you trust and respect to give you constructive feedback and guidance in every situation.