The best professional advice ever given to me, and it certainly can be applied to many aspects of life, was to be myself and to believe in myself. When this advice was given to me, I had recently accepted a promotion to a senior level executive role. Without it, I would have gone into the new position focused on playing to a role, becoming a title, rather than staying true to who I am as a person and leader.
I did not have to focus on being who I thought people wanted me to be because of the new title. Instead, I could establish and direct my vision towards goal setting, building internal and external relationships, and creating opportunities to grow the company. This created a new level of satisfaction that may not have been possible if I were trying to be someone else.
Following this advice has benefited me. My team calls me the leader of “team execution” because of my consistent focus on executing all projects and tasks at the highest level of quality possible. “Good enough” is not a phrase I will allow myself to think or speak. It is a phrase and thinking that I learned to omit from my life while growing up in the Bronx, New York, and attending a rigorous, high-performing high school. Mediocrity is just not an option.
My mantra, something that I return to daily, is to always be detail oriented and exceed expectations. With that as my foundation, I prepare each day and client for success. I know that when I demonstrate that I truly care about my work product and believe in my clients’ missions, I win trust and respect. That is why I strive to exhibit these characteristics every day.
The most vital lesson that I have learned while leading a growing organization is that I am nothing without my team. A well-known phrase represents this: “No man is an island.” To run a competitive organization, I know that I must encourage everyone to be creative and effective. That can only occur once I have given them the necessary support and established processes that foster teamwork and success. With every interaction, I strive to make that happen.
What does it take to succeed and stay competitive in your position/field?
I establish trust and longlasting relationships with my clients. Since I support charter schools by managing their multimillion dollar budgets, it is important that they view me as their financial thought partner who truly cares about the mission of their schools.
Is there a role model who has had a profound impact on your career and/or life? What did he/she motivate you to do?
My mother taught me to be honest, straight-forward, and to pay attention to detail. With her Caribbean background, she instilled in me the importance of integrity and hard work.
Has discrimination affected you as a woman in the workplace? How did you deal with it?
While at a former company, the president would consistently ask for my input on business decisions and growth strategy. He told me that I would make a good executive assistant at a larger firm. This “advice” inspired me to one day attain the position as president of a firm.