My favorite quote, but also my philosophy for my life and career is “You can’t make footprints in the sand if you’re always sitting down.” I have worked hard throughout my career, and I would never have gotten to where I am today without the unfaltering support of those around me or by simply “sitting down.” I had to make my own “footprints in the sand” and be more determined to succeed than those in the “old boys club” who were, at times, determined to see me fail.
I began my career in the male dominated oil industry in the early 1980s as an engineer in offshore oil and gas exploration. Being a young, black female professional in the oil industry was stressful, and I was challenged every day, constantly having to prove myself and my abilities and even encountering physical threats to my safety. I could write a book about the things I experienced, the challenges I overcame and what I accomplished during those years. My mentors have also been a great support system throughout my career, providing me with sound advice and guidance. I refer to and apply those lessons to this day, as I continue to evolve my career, encounter new challenges and achieve my goals.
My professional journey and the many bumps I’ve overcome along the way have taught me that great leadership comes from undeniable determination and a passion for what you do. Throughout this journey, I’ve learned that it is not just what you reap, but what you give back to others that makes a difference. I believe that sharing my life lessons with others and providing guidance as a mentor can help cultivate leaders who have strength, courage, character and integrity. It is also my philosophy that great mentors are also staunch advocates for their people; spotlighting the good attributes that others may not see. It is a rewarding experience to coach someone and watch that person apply your lessons and grow both personally and professionally.