Early in my career I realized something that would shape the way I view life and those around me. This realization was the importance of establishing a network of supportive individuals.

I began my career at Aflac as a license specialist and immediately saw an opportunity to grow. This opportunity, coupled with the encouragement and support from others, enabled me to scale the corporate ladder to my current role as chief diversity officer.

My career was not the only area of my life that required support. As a single parent of two children, I decided to return to school, a decision that brought both major obstacles and significant rewards. If not for the support of friends, family and co-workers, I wouldn’t have survived this time in my life. In the end, the sacrifice led to a bachelor’s degree with honors.

I now share my story with other women and share a few tips for success, which are build a strong network of professional and personal relationships, determine what’s most important in your life and ask for feedback and direction.

It is often difficult to ask for help from others. We fear that we may be judged for our weaknesses. Believing this thought, however, will only hinder our success. We must understand that there are people who are willing to help and want to see us succeed. We simply must find them, foster relationships with them and then confide in them. Relationships are the core of success; one cannot survive alone.

As women, it is natural for us to bond with other women. We have an innate connection with one another. We must use this connection to develop relationships with leaders who can help guide us through our obstacles and celebrate achievements with us in our careers.

The key to my success is my strong network of supportive individuals who are friends, family members and co-workers. My advice is to find individuals who will support and guide you and continue the cycle by assisting those who are brave enough to ask for help.