There are many ways to define success in the way you live and work. An important piece of career advice is to be true to yourself and live your values. It’s not always easy, but it’s important to create your own definition of success and build a career that meets your own priorities.
There are always challenges in every successful career. Among my biggest challenges were developing my own leadership style and learning to embrace mistakes and failures as valuable learning opportunities.
Finding my own path was challenging at times, which is why the mentors in my life were so important. Throughout my career, I’ve benefited from the guidance of mentors who gave me candid feedback and helped me find opportunities to demonstrate my abilities. My parents were my first (and best) mentors, and I was fortunate to have other people who took an interest in my development. Having engaged and influential mentors made a tremendous difference for me, so I always look for opportunities to share what I’ve learned and to help guide others.
I have always followed a few simple rules that my parents emphasized: do your best, make time for family and always give back.
My first professional job was with the Children’s Defense Fund, which works to protect the interests of some of our most vulnerable citizens – children. I was privileged to be part of a work environment where everyone was passionate and committed to the mission, and where an inspiring leader shaped that culture. It was the first time I saw what a difference engaged and passionate people can make. In every role I’ve taken since, it’s been important that I can engage fully in the work and that I have the opportunity for community service.
In my current position, one of the things I’m proudest of is the UnitedHealth Group Pro Bono Program, which I helped establish to create opportunities for our lawyers to use their legal skills to help low income individuals and nonprofit organizations in need of legal counsel. During 2009, our lawyers provided more than 1,300 hours of pro bono legal services in their communities.
So I would say that one key to success is pursuing a career that engages your passions and helps you live your values. Being engaged and excited about your work will help give you the drive to make a real difference in the ways that are important to you.