As a college student interested in design, I never imagined I would build a career on the retail side of the runway, but more than 20 years later, I still love what I do. What started for me as a way to pay off student loans quickly became a passion. The chaotic pace and constant change of retail were invigorating, and I was hooked!

I had leadership responsibilities with Target from my first day on the job. Leading a team early turned out to be the most important experience in shaping my career. There have been many times when Target offered me opportunities even before I thought I was ready for them. My leaders took chances on me and taught me to see possibilities instead of obstacles, and that’s what I have tried to do with my teams over the years. Today I lead a team that oversees the processes and projects supporting all businesses within each of the more than 1,740 Target stores. I am surrounded by talented and amazing people and we collectively attain higher levels of success through continuous improvement and collaboration.

I have been successful because I’m not afraid to fail. Fear of failure inhibits the intellect, dampens curiosity and invariably leads to bad decisions. I tell my teams and mentees that if they are afraid of voicing their opinion and giving real-time feedback, it’s going to do more harm than good. A healthy team is one where people challenge each other and bring their diverse perspectives and experiences to the table. I am authentic and transparent with my teams and try to create an environment where they can be authentic too. I always prescribe a healthy dose of mental sparring to enhance teamwork and spark innovation!

I feel fortunate to work for a company like Target that has many women in top leadership positions. They have helped shape a culture where team members are able to attain a good work-life balance while still progressing in their careers. For me this balance is a choice – both at work and at home. I try to role model it for my team so they are empowered to work toward that balance, too. Ultimately, my advice to emerging leaders is to pave your own path and have the courage to stay true to it.