My parents instilled in me, my three sisters and brother a tremendous work ethic. They supported us and challenged us to always give our very best. I have felt their influence throughout my career.

Mentoring comes in many forms, like from the bank officer who helped me open my first checking account before I left for college. He didn’t just open the account. He took an interest in where I’d attend college, what kind of student I was, and what I thought about applying for a bank teller position the following summer. My conversation with him may not have been unique for him, but it made a lasting impression on me. It taught me to take an interest in others, to always be open to opportunities and that it’s my responsibility to turn opportunities into realities.

Another mentor taught me that confidentiality is paramount to any job. I cannot stress this enough to young people. In an age where information is available 24/7 and disseminated at light-speed, exercising good judgment remains a core staple in any career.

The best mentor I have I’ve consulted with for just about every critical career decision I’ve made. “JDO” (you know who you are) has taught me to look at myself as an individual with unique skills and a strong drive. He listens and offers feedback based on experience, with the business perspective to understand what I am talking about and the wisdom to know that I’m not asking him to tell me what to do. He taught me to think strategically and execute practically. By example, he has taught me the importance of life balance and how to be a mentor.

Being a mentor is one of the most rewarding aspects of my career. It comes in two forms for me – being a sounding board and being a sponsor. As I strive to master the second, I’m still learning from two amazing individuals at AXA Equitable. One I’ve known for more than 20 years and the other I had the great fortune of working for a few years ago.

I’ve watched them use their influence to positively impact careers, as well as help individuals who otherwise might not have been able to change their economic situation. I am in awe of how their actions directly change lives for the better! I’m glad I can continue to learn from such great role models.