Success Is Yours to Achieve

I am inspired by the future generation. They take charge, advocate for themselves, and know their worth. Reflecting on my own career, I know that confidence did not come easily.

Decades of hard work, combined with strong determination, led to my role as vice president of finance. As a black woman, it is still not unusual to find myself one of the few—if not the only—female or black person at the executive table.

I started in mutual funds, then banking, and worked in various treasury departments for two decades before landing my current role at Capital Electric. In the early days of my career, I was often mistaken for a secretary or member of the janitorial staff instead of a recent college graduate with a finance degree. I used this as fuel—fuel to persevere and confidently walk into a room where the probability of someone talking over me was high. I am human; sometimes I would walk away from these interactions feeling deeply discouraged. These experiences, however difficult, taught me not to view myself through the others’ lenses. It amplified the critical need to realize my self-worth.

My advice to the next generation: Stay true to yourself as you adapt to situations and environments outside of your comfort zone. Also, knowing your worth requires homework. Understand the complexities of your compensation, and don’t be afraid to ask for a pay increase! The worst that can happen is that you’ll hear the word no. The best that could happen is that you will get a raise, and your confidence will get the boost it deserves!

To the young, black female about to embark on your career: Don’t let biases or disheartening experiences break your spirit or stand in the way of achieving your goals. Don’t let what others think of you become an albatross around your neck. Always remember that you are in control of your destiny—in more ways than you might believe, including making decisions about your career by taking calculated risks. Keep your head high, keep your eyes on the prize, and stay true to who you are. Success is yours to achieve.