Each of us can think of someone who has had a significant impact on our lives. I was fortunate to grow up in a family filled with role models and mentors. My mother, in particular, has always encouraged my dreams and challenged me to succeed. She taught me that life is too short to work in a job that you are not passionate about, and she fed my insatiable curiosity to learn and grow by teaching me to embrace new experiences. She instilled in me a sense of humility and compassion for others and taught me that caring, sharing, and helping others succeed is a uniquely rewarding experience.
Today, at 72, she is CEO of my father’s printing business and one of the greatest mentors I have ever had. I have never taken for granted the impact that my mother has had on my life and my career, and I have always welcomed the opportunity to share what I’ve learned with others as a mentor.
One of the most gratifying elements of my work life at Capital One is being part of a corporate culture that mirrors the supportive environment that I was lucky enough to enjoy growing up. Each day, I have the opportunity not only to work alongside a team of very talented individuals, but I also have the privilege to mentor, helping to encourage new ideas and diverse paths for growth.
For me, mentoring is more about helping another individual reach their personal potential than it is about the gratification of getting that next promotion or a new title. Not that women aren’t—or shouldn’t be—concerned about advancing their careers, but I believe that those “measures of success” are often a natural result of the growth and confidence gained through the developmental process.
I have also learned that listening is a big part of leadership. You can often learn much more from someone whose perspective differs from your own. Surrounding yourself with people who challenge you to think differently can help you clarify your goals and succeed in ways that you might never have envisioned.
Leadership and success mean accepting the challenge remaining true to yourself, being open to new opportunities, taking risks, and stretching beyond your boundaries (which, we have to remember,aresometimes self imposed).