“Always do your best; if you don’t, you are only cheating yourself.” This is the advice my parents gave me when I was growing up. It is advice that means more today than it did years ago.

I find the phrase “cheating yourself” is key, as it makes clear the consequences of an unsatisfactory job. For me, it is a phrase that has been a big part of how I make decisions. I interpret this as challenging myself and not leaving a job partially complete. I believe everyone should shoot for 100 percent. If they don’t, they are not being true to themselves.

“Doing one’s best” also includes engaging in a variety of activities. This philosophy has allowed me to learn about a multitude of topics, which have become building blocks in the growth of my professional and personal life. More often than not, I see parallels among seemingly disparate activities, which let me gain a perspective that I would not have had without the varied experiences. These activities have allowed me to be open to new ideas, willing to try, and tolerant of failure.

I believe this is a philosophy that doesn’t let people settle for less. It helps me find what is best for my family and my career. This includes a profession that I am passionate about, working with people who fit my style, and having time to find peace outside the workplace. It is taking an idea and being excited to pursue it further. It is taking the chance to try something different and be willing to commit to learning. It is the enthusiasm to start a journey, when you’re not quite sure where it will end.

Now that I am a parent, have I decided to share this same philosophy with my children? Absolutely.

On Finding Success and Staying Competitive
Develop your ability to work across divisions, knowledge of the industry, and excellent communication skills.

On the Importance of Role Models and Mentors
My dad taught me that respect has to be earned, that every job is worth doing well, and that I should always keep my options open.

On Facing Challenges
My biggest challenge is working with people whose first interest is their own agenda.

Allison’s Advice to Young Women Starting Careers
Don’t be afraid to speak up; build a strong network.