Throughout my 18-year career, I have held positions as dietician, general manager, district manager, operations vice presi- dent and senior vice president and have always strived to take on greater challenges and responsibility. I learned the value and rewards of entrepreneurship at the age of 11, when I set up a lemonade and hot dog stand at Pepperdine University. I made a tremendous amount of money for an 11-year-old and learned a valuable lesson in running a business. That has motivated me ever since, and I have continued to accept challenges that have afforded me the opportunity to use my entrepreneurial skills.

There are four principles that I would offer to individuals as they set out to grow their careers. The first i sot be 100 percent straight with everyone all the time. Whether you are dealing with a client or employee; it is important to tell it like it is, no matter what the situation. When the situation is particularly bad, it is important to acknowledge it and pro- vide clear direction on what you as the leader are going to do to make it better. If a mistake is made, own up to it and apologize for it. At all times rely on honesty and integrity.

The second principle is to be passionate about what you do. Passion will drive your success, just as the absence of it will lead to stress and failure. If you do not enjoy what you are doing, the best course of action is to find something else. Once you have found your passion, you will be amazed at how successful you will be.

The third principle is to develop those around you. I am proud to be able to say that the majority of district managers in my area were promoted from general manager positions, and the majority of general managers from supervisory roles. Nothing is more rewarding than seeing someone else’s career grow. And as you develop the members of your team, you are improving the overall competence and business performance of your operating area. Take advantage of opportunities to mentor others, as well as to be mentored.

Finally, in everything you do, make a connection with the people around you. Take the time to connect with those in your immediate work group and others outside of it. Use formal and informal networking opportunities to build contacts with others.