I’ve always enjoyed adventure.Growingup as a Navy brat, I liked knowing I could reinvent myself every time we moved. Think about it – I never was saddled with the reputation of something dumb I had done back in third grade. Every new place was an opportunity to create a new and improved me.

My parents were both Italian Americans (my dad came to this country when he was six), high school sweethearts who grew up in Western Pennsylvania’s coal-mining country. Their families didn’t have much, but that didn’t matter – they grew up strong, proud, and profoundly committed to their family. My dad tells my daughters, “The best luck a person can have is who their parents are.” And I echo that. I was blessed to have parents who came from little, but who made a wonderful life for their family. They instilled in us the belief that the American Dream was absolutely real, and completely within our grasp. And to them, that dream was a twoway street – building a better life for yourself and giving back to others.

I surprised my parents (and myself) when I decided to join the Navy after college. Although I had been raised “in the Navy,” that was an unconventional choice for a young woman in the early 1980s. But to me it made perfect sense. Many of my college friends headed to New York for careers in banking. But I thought that was boring; I wanted adventure. I wanted to see the world, meet different people, and experience new things.

My Navy adventure was one of the most important things I’ve ever done – not only did I meet my husband, but also I found that serving my country made me feel very proud and very fulfilled. Consulting has allowed me to continue that adventure – no two workdays are alike, and I’m continuing to serve my country by working with Navy clients.

Being adventurous doesn’t mean I do crazy things. It means I’m open to new experiences and possibilities – something my husband and I are trying to teach our daughters. Having balance in my life gives me the perspective – and the strength – to try something new. Every day, I take a few minutes and think about how I’m engaged on four key dimensions: my family, my work, my community, and myself. Of course, I don’t have this balancing thing down perfectly, but I’ll keep trying until I get it right.