My parents and a few special mentors have had a profound impact on my leadership style. They genuinely cared about me and my growth, and they took the time to share their personal experiences with me so that I could learn from them. My parents—especially my father—convinced me that I could be anything I wanted to be. Throughout my childhood, they reinforced strong values of honesty, integrity, hard work, and taking responsibility for my own actions.
As a military family, we moved often and had to build new relationships regularly. That experience can be difficult for many people, but it became a great life lesson for me. The ability to forge trusting relationships is imperative for a great leader, especially one who works in human resources.
Looking back, the mentors who had the greatest influence were those who told me things that were difficult to hear. It is easy for a mentor to reinforce positive characteristics, but it takes a special relationship to tell someone honestly and candidly what they need to change. Mentors who are willing to give tough feedback are priceless.
I’m driven by a desire to be great at whatever I do. I have never defined success as a specific role or position, but instead view it as doing a great job and contributing to the success of the enterprise. Since graduating from college, I have spent my entire career at Texas Instruments, where I have had opportunities to move and grow. I believe doors opened for me because I focused on being great at whatever I was working on and because I worked for leaders who took chances on others.
The most rewarding part of my job today is helping others grow and develop. From formal mentoring programs inside and outside of TI to informal mentoring relationships across the company, providing thoughts, suggestions, insights, knowledge and experiences is very satisfying personally and important for the organization.
My advice is twofold: First, build relationships with those rare people who are willing to tell you what you do well and who can help you see what you should do differently to get even better. And, second, become that kind of mentor yourself.