Becoming a CEO has been one of the greatest professional accomplishments that I have achieved. I made the decision to go back to graduate school and obtain my master’s degree in health care administration. I took three years to complete my degree while working full time and raising my children. Without the support of my husband, I would have never been able to achieve something so momentous.

Today, as the CEO of Centerpoint Medical Center, I look back over my career and realize that there were wonderful individuals who helped craft my career. I’ve been mentored by some of the brightest minds in the industry who have continued to monitor my career and give me advice. The most important thing about having mentors is making sure that they care enough about you to be honest with you and give you constructive feedback.

James Warren, who promoted me to COO when I was a laboratory director, really spent a lot of time coaching me and teaching me that things were very different once you decide to move into the C suite. I remember his patience with me as I made rookie mistakes. He made sure that he was correcting me without discouraging me.

I spend a lot of time mentoring young executives. I think it is so important to give back because people were willing to spend time with me early in my career. The best advice I can give to leaders is to surround yourself with good people and make sure you have people in your life that will give you good and honest advice, not just advice that you want to hear. It is equally important to continue to learn and educate yourself, not just in your industry, but also about what is occurring in the world.

Lastly, make sure that God and family are the cornerstones in your life. Integrity is vital to being a great executive and leader. People must know that they can trust you and that you genuinely care about them. I always say that I would like to be recognized as a mother, wife, friend, neighbor and chief executive officer. I’m very proud of my title, but being a great mother and wife are the two most important things in my life.