My career at Johnson & Johnson started 19 years ago – an exciting journey towards the executive ranks of a Fortune 500 company full of challenging and enriching encounters. I owe much of my success to the supervisors and mentors who shared their time and wisdom with me, let me take chances, and allowed me to learn from both mistakes and successes.
Five years after joining Johnson & Johnson, I enrolled as a parttime student to receive my bachelor’s degree. My commitment to my education would not have been possible without support from my mentors and family. My mentors taught me to go beyond the self-made limits I created.
As a life-long mentor and advocate of women in the workplace, I enjoy sharing these lessons with others who have the abilities and aspirations to travel this road, but may not have had the right guidance to turn their aspirations into reality. Over the years, I have summarized these lessons into my personal ‘top three strategies for success in the workplace’.
Focus. One of the best predictors of high performance at the executive level is the ability to remain focused and deal with ambiguity and change. This skill is a strong indicator of how well individuals will be able to evolve in today’s business environment. I attribute much of my success to my ability to remain focused and simplify complex business situations.
Versatility. A second key characteristic of successful leaders is versatility, or the ability to recognize and adapt to your surroundings. A manager must be able to reach into her toolbox to find a different way to attack a problem or deal with a situation. Lack of self-awareness and adaptability almost instantly impose limitations on an individual’s development and longterm career opportunities.
Leadership. A third lesson, imparted from my first mentor, is a simple quote which still resonates today:“Be the change you want to see in the world.” This statement has been the basis for my attitude in business and life and has allowed me to positively face adversity that I could not have overcome otherwise. It is a call to stand up and take charge, to grab the courage to lead. It is my proudest moment when I see one of my mentees embracing their conviction and passion to lead the organization and overcome roadblocks which were previously viewed as impenetrable.