Success is 99 percent luck and 1 percent of what you make of an opportunity. I am fortunate to be born in a country where people’s rights are respected and children receive an education. I had supportive parents and have never lived through horror or trauma. Phenomenal companies in the fast-paced, high-tech industry have hired me.

My journey has been about learning more, and knowing less. At 22, I knew everything. At twice that age, I listen more and talk less, to the relief of all. Many women struggle to find the right style in business and I am among them. Good leaders commit to continuous improvement.

One insightful mentor told me, “positive energy is passion, negative is emotion.” My best role models have mostly been peers, people within my organization and my subconscious. You can learn from every person and in every situation.

I have collected from those wiser than me a few sayings that I live by and lead me because they inspire, provide direction and evoke dialog. Think big; start small and move fast can be a methodology for everything. Be different and not just better will help create breakthrough ideas and value. Answers are easy and questions are hard is an idea that releases preconceived assumptions and provokes unconventional thinking.

Good strategy tells you when to say no. Leadership is how you behave, not a title. Anyone can be a leader. Strength of character is tested in times of stress, not times of success. Lead by example. It’s worth 1,000 words. Feigning perfection is harder than being honest and committed to continual improvement. Manage your personal brand; every conversation builds or diminishes it. It’s not just what, but it’s also how. Guess mom was right.

I have been fortunate to work with and for some of the smartest people in the high-tech industry. Wiltel gave me a great education and industry visibility. TeleChoice hired me to build a global consulting practice and later I became company president.

The CEO of Juniper gave me the opportunity to lead worldwide marketing and participate in corporate strategy. Microsoft gave me the opportunity to help redefine entertainment. And today NetApp allows me to learn what it takes to build a great company and culture. But as much as I love work, home is the real world and the primary place where I’m regularly reminded: “mom, you are such a dweeb!”