My first professional job resulted from a conversation I had with friends at a New Year’s Eve celebration. I was having difficulty understanding them because they were speaking a language I didn’t understand …the language of IT acronyms. The next thing I knew, I was committed to be part of the IT industry. I found out that Sears had openings within their MIS department, I applied, and that started my career in the field of technology. My work in the MIS department for more than eight years was the foundation of my business acumen. It taught me to think logically, adapt to change, problem solve at a moment’s notice, prioritize, and multitask.

As for what advice I would give to women embarking on their careers, although I do not recollect any major incidents that contributed to my success, the biggest underlying factor was my confidence level that has developed throughout the years, growing as my responsibilities and goals have grown. I have put myself into positions where making decisions is not always comfortable; yet those times have been the biggest growth areas for me. I just made a choice based on all possible consequences, and drove forward.

My husband and I built our company one account at a time, one challenge at a time, getting one issue resolved at a time, and solving one major crisis at a time—always making an overall decision that was best for the company. In our experience, success is really built upon a quality team: hiring highly skilled people, employees with a lot of passion and potential. We grow the team as we grow the business. As employees grow in their career, their responsibilities and accountabilities also grow, because people make better decisions when they feel ownership.

I try to pass along the gift of confidence to women, encouraging them to wear as many hats as possible, taking on new challenges and risks while learning the business as a whole. Putting yourself into situations where you have to make a decision based on the information you have helps to build the confidence to make successively more difficult or complex decisions much easier. I am still thrilled to drive myself to the next level, and with pride I watch women drive themselves to the next level in their careers.