The mantle of leadership comes with great responsibility, and even more so for women in business. Growth and development of others is a core responsibility –preparing the next generation to execute future goals shows commitment to the individual and the organization. I’ve had mentors do that for me, and I consider it a privilege to make the same investment in the next generation of business leaders.

Early in my career, I learned the importance of surrounding yourself with people who see something in you and are willing to take a risk on your development. The selfless act of reaching down and pulling someone up is invaluable. Throughout my tenure I’ve purposefully connected with those who express an interest in my growth and future, both professionally and personally. These relationships have given my career a strong foundation, and given me the confidence to execute with excellence. Realizing someone stepped outside of their comfort to support a vision they saw in me, gives me the extra vigor to rise above and beyond their expectations.

As I grow in responsibility, a few guiding principles help me mentor others and lead an effective team. First, no two people are the same, therefore your management approach must be unique to each individual. Understanding this early on allowed me to lead many groups of talented individuals who work even better as a team. Second, create a team with diverse backgrounds and viewpoints, but with similar commitments to productivity and successful execution. This foundation ensures the strength and development of a phenomenal group. Lastly, when faced with difficult decisions, first take time to step back and assess the overall situation. Lean on those whose council you value – test theories and gain valuable feedback to create a pathway to the right solution. In effective decision making, it is imperative to consider all options to help make an ethical final decision.

The journey does not come easily, but the lessons along the way are immeasurable and I’ve come to realize that a career void of these lessons is unsuccessful, unmemorable and shortlived. I encourage everyone to take ownership of their careers and lead toward a desired outcome. In addition to personal initiative, it’s important to also seek out the support, guidance, and vision of others. The sum of us is greater than one of us; we can’t do it all on our own – it’s our responsibility to pass along these lessons to the next generation of female leaders in business.