My career path at Ford has been greatly influenced by mentoring, both from being a mentor and from being mentored. My philosophy is that mentoring must be approached from a 360 degree perspective—that it is important to have mentors in higher levels of the organization, but it is equally important to have mentors that are peers and subordinates. I find that candid discussion about how effective I am as a leader, how my actions are being perceived, and how well others relate to my leadership style is incredibly important if I want to continue to grow into the most effective leader I can be.
The advice I try to provide as a mentor, and the best advice I can share with others who aspire to a career in business, is to have a clear sense of values and a clear sense of your life’s purpose. This may sound lofty, but it’s really about setting attainable short- and long-term goals. This means not simply thinking about what you want your title to be or what material possessions you want to acquire, but about the type of person you want to be and the type of impact you want to have on the world. Then, stay focused on those goals and make assessments and adjustments along the way so that in the end, you have the kind of life you want in every way.
That also means paying attention to work-life balance. This has required a strong circle of support from extended family, friends and colleagues, as well as strong and open communication within our family, so that I am clear about the things that are most important to them and can prioritize my time accordingly.
I believe that having a strong family foundation early in my life has set the stage for everything I’ve been able to accomplish. I was fortunate that my parents consistently provided a solid foundation for me as I was growing up, and I am committed to providing the same for my children. So, in addition to my career
goals, I have set high personal goals. One of the most important lessons I’ve learned from my mentors that I try to pass along to those I’m mentoring is that the key to success is finding happiness and fulfillment in the professional and personal aspects of your life. You can’t have one without the other.