I began my life as the youngest of 11 children on a farm in rural Kansas. My parents believed that education was very important for both their sons and their daughters—this was progressive thinking for the times. They also fostered in me a sense of determination and a feeling that I could do anything I wanted to do with my life through education. I attended a women’s college in Kansas, where my advisor further reinforced what my parents had taught me. By the time I began working in my first full-time job, I never doubted my ability to accomplish what I had set out to do.

Since my first corporate job in 1972, I have continued to pay close attention to lessons learned along the way—after all, education is a lifelong process. By applying these accumulated do’s and don’ts to my personal and professional life, I have been able to build a successful career and a fulfilling life:

LIVE BY YOUR VALUES AND BEHAVE WITH INTEGRITY AT ALL TIMES. Good business relationships are built on trust. That’s why it’s important to choose a company whose values resonate with your own. If you find the right fit, you’ll feel comfortable in your work environment and proud of the way in which you’ve achieved success.

SEEK BALANCE IN YOUR LIFE. A person who is balanced has the advantage of being able to focus on what’s important in their life and their work. If your life is too focused in one direction, you may lose that ability. Look beyond your work and be an active participant in your family life and your community.

PRODUCE RESULTS. Businesses count on people who can contribute to the bottom line. The best way to accomplish this is to hone your technical skills and know the business. This will earn you a reputation as someone that people can go to for critical information, strong advice, and stellar results.

GIVE BACK TO THE COMMUNITY. No one—man or woman—gets anywhere without the help and support of others. If the community has helped your business to profit, then find opportunities to volunteer and serve that community. If you werefortunate to have a mentor who guided you down the right path, returnthe favor by serving as a mentor for someone else.

Most of all, never forget as you are struggling your way to the top—as well as when you finally reach your destination—that there are always new lessons to be learned. I’m sure that there is much more in store for me in the years ahead