I have always tried to focus on growth and improvement. After graduating from high school, I enlisted in the U.S. Air Force. I also made it a goal to be the first person in my family to earn a bachelor’s degree. I did this by attending school at night and on weekends while serving in the Air Force in Nebraska and Germany. This experience made me realize that it was up to me to set my course.

After eight years in the Air Force, I worked my way through law school. During all of these experiences, I had the opportunity to work with people from different socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds. This led to two very strong philosophies that have guided my career. First, every person is important to an organization, whatever his or her role. Second, hard work needs to be, and always should be, recognized.

It is important to understand that success requires hard work and sacrifice, not just to thrive today, but also for victory tomorrow. Recognition of that hard work can take many forms. Compensatory benefits are the most obvious, but equally important is the benefit of forming relationships with others who can provide guidance today and into the future.

I was lucky to find great mentors throughout both my military and professional careers. Or maybe they found me, realizing my potential before I did. As a young leader, I need to provide that guidance to others. The opportunity to learn from and share with others is as valuable as any compensatory benefit.

As I progress on my journey of growth, I hope to continue to surround myself with high-performing teams and talented people from whom I can learn and who will help me grow. My goals now are to help others achieve their goals and to recognize the hard work of my mentors, including my husband of 26 years.