Most people would describe me as genuine, spirited, and enthusiastic. Helping others achieve their potential is paramount to me, and I make a concerted effort to connect with and make a difference in people’s lives and careers. One of the most rewarding things for me as a leader is the ability to unleash the best in people.

I define leadership as the ability to explore possibilities and turn them into reality with velocity. There are four very critical components of this: creating fellowship; inspiring others; executing with excellence; and coaching and developing people. That ability to coach is core to who I am. Having great mentors, taking risks, and gaining cross-functional experience have all contributed to my success:

  • Role models and leaders with varying styles provide an opportunity to assimilate the best qualities of each and apply them into your own unique style of leading.
  • To succeed, you cannot be afraid to take risks. Failure is not an option. With risk comes growth and learning.
  • Finally, cross-functional experience provides opportunities to learn about different parts of the organization and understand how they interrelate and function.

Being successful in today’s world is not without its challenges. Probably the most difficult challenge for both men and women is to maintain work/life balance. We struggle with time away from home and spending quality time with our families. It’s critical to recognize the importance of finding balance.

A second challenge for women is recognizing that we don’t have to do everything on our own. We need to leverage our resources, be open to information and learning —and again, not be afraid to take risks. We also need to integrate our personal experiences into our organization’s strategy. For example, the retail supermarket industry is changing. Seventy-two percent of our customers are women, and more and more of our gender are assuming leadership roles. Imagine the possibilities!

My advice is to be willing to learn something new every day, be overt in seeking out role models, and reach out to others unselfishly. Don’t underestimate the value of creating relationships with customers, peers, and people with whom you work closely. Never be afraid to try something new. It’s important that people make a mark and put their name on something they’ve created. Finally, be comfortable with who you are; and even as a professional, never forget to have fun.