Focus More on Being Brave than on Being Perfect

As a female leader in a primarily male-dominated industry, it is important for me to demonstrate to younger women that I can be authentic to who I am, and still have a very successful career. My advice for others who are building their careers would be threefold: 1) Find the culture that allows you to bring your authentic self to work every day; 2) Attitude will set you apart; and 3) Take time to help others succeed.

I would encourage any professional to find a work culture that fits who they are. We spend a great portion of our lives at work, and it makes a big difference if you are working in a culture that celebrates you. This culture includes your peers and leaders. If you don’t work well with a certain leader, within a group of people and/or the company, it doesn’t make you or the others “bad.” Rather, you are likely in a culture where you aren’t being authentic to what you need to be successful. There are other roles, teams, and leaders, so find those that work for you. These roles may not be in the form of upward movements, but I would suggest that success comes in many different forms. Lateral moves, or those that take you back a step, may be just what is needed for you to propel yourself forward and realize your full potential.

I truly believe that attitude is everything. There are many challenges in the business environment today, and we get to choose how we respond to those challenges. I am not saying that everything goes well just because you are positive, but whatever the challenge is, we can make the best of the situation. I would also encourage women to not limit themselves because they are in fear of being judged; we should focus more on being brave than being perfect.

Finally, I encourage everyone to help others succeed. This is a behavior expectation we have at Rockwell Collins, and I am all in! My career has benefited from champions who have helped me succeed, and I strongly believe in being a champion for others. My time is no more valuable than anyone else’s in our organization, so if there is a way for me to help someone for the benefit of their development and our company, I am excited and happy to support that.