As I think about my leadership path, I tend to focus on the obstacles I created for myself, such as not being thoughtful about what really drives me, not taking a more active role in my own career, and not leveraging relationships that I had worked hard to establish. I, like many women, am supremely confident when it comes to work-related matters, but at times, I’ve felt unsure about my ability to balance my work and home life. I now realize these obstacles were just part of the journey that we, as career women must take, and which, if overcome, make us highly effective leaders. Learning to build and foster relationships, as well as developing a work and leadership style that were comfortable and effective, are things that helped me understand and overcome some of the obstacles I faced.
One of my sponsors at Ryder sat me down one day and asked me where I saw myself in two years. When I told him I didn’t know, he said, “Well then, how am I supposed to help you get there?” I realized then that I needed to take a more active role in my career development or I would lose the respect and support of those who believed in me. Having a sponsor who was willing to be honest with me and challenge me really made a difference. I also began to focus more on the relationships with my peers, particularly with other women leaders. Talking through challenges, asking for different perspectives, and simply commiserating on different issues helped me create a strong support network that made me more successful. Finally, by watching other successful leaders and innovators, both inside and outside of Ryder, I learned that only with the respect, trust, and support of my team would I be in a position to further the company’s strategic and tactical objectives, which would in turn open more doors for me.
I manage expectations every day, especially my own. I always remember there is more than one way to solve a problem, I ask for help early and often, and most importantly, I allow myself to fail and to disappoint because it helps me keep things in perspective and stay grounded.
How has education affected your career?
Law school taught me to question everything so that I have a real understanding of the problem I’m trying to solve.
What does it take to succeed and stay competitive in your position/field?
Possessing an understanding of the business, being practical when working toward any given objective, and fostering/leveraging relationships
What advice would you give young women building/preparing for a career?
Never be passive. Take the time to figure out what you love and what motivates you—something about your career you find challenging and rewarding. Set long-term and short-term goals so you can make focused, thoughtful decisions. Take risks, especially earlier on in life when it’s easier to do.