Growing up in Colorado, my parents provided me with the strength to do whatever I put my mind to do. They helped me become fearless in my life adventures. They taught me to live life according to my core values and to take risks. They coached me to look at opportunities and find the positive rather than the negative. They taught me to be curious of things I am not familiar with, and to look at other cultures with an open mind and with a keen interest in seeing how others view the world.
As an exchange student in high school, I spent one year in Switzerland perfecting my French and learning Italian, followed by undergraduate studies in Italy studying their language and lifestyle. I received my MBA at the Thunderbird School of Global Management where I realized learning languages would be just a small part of understanding more about our world.
For 20 years I have had the opportunity to work in global companies. I have also shaped and run several startup companies. I learned that my passion is helping people reach their full potential by mentoring and coaching. I became a founding member of a nonprofit charter school helping to shape children’s futures by opening doors to global communities, and helping them see how much the world has to offer.
All of these experiences have helped shape the executive I am today. The biggest challenge I have faced was being younger than my peers. At times this was intimidating. It was important for me to balance confidence and humility when dealing with people who were more experienced than myself.
The best mentors are those who see what you cannot see in yourself and call you to step into your greatness. They question the status quo and are not afraid to show vulnerability or admit they’ve made a mistake. They readily give credit to others.
My advice to young women is to look at life as a series of chapters. Be clear about what you want in each chapter of your life. By doing this, you remove the pressure of having to figure out your “life” plan and you allow yourself the flexibility to take advantage of opportunities that present themselves. Be disciplined and persistent. Know what you value. Be flexible enough to change as needed. I believe it is a great time for women in careers.