I grew up working in my family’s business, a dairy farm in southwestern Wisconsin. From a young age I learned the importance of working hard, taking advantage of opportunities and being a team player.

Strong leadership, discipline and honesty are among the values I learned. The same holds true when working for a major corporation. Other core values that have guided me throughout my career include:

  • Being responsible for one’s actions
  • Earning the respect of fellow co-workers and customers
  • Leading by example
  • Participating as a team player.

My first job out of college was with Dun and Bradstreet as an account supervisor, supporting the company’s team of
global sales executives. Throughout my career, I often have been faced with being the youngest person in my peer group.
While hard work and commitment earned me the roles, strong bosses who became coaches and mentors helped me
learn and grow into being a professional capable of handling larger responsibility.

My superiors challenged me, like my parents, to be the best and enabled me to try new roles that helped to develop my skills and experience. My managers were engaged and gave me feedback because they truly wanted me to succeed.

Today, I work hard to do the same—to care about my staff and those that I mentor and to give back to them the learning and support that my mentors gave me during the early days of my career.

Advice that has served me well is to watch and observe what good leaders do, then incorporate what’s natural for you. Leadership is developed from your experiences and it influences how you successfully operate in the business world as well as how effective you are in building relationships with clients.

The foundation we grew up with forms the basis for who we are as adults and the success we are capable of experiencing in our career. Be accountable, be a leader, and your dreams will come true.