Everything I know I learned on the farm.
Well, maybe not everything. But growing up on a family farm immersed in land, animals, and the cycle of life at an early age taught me a lot about leadership. When you rely on the land for your livelihood, it requires everyone’s hard work. I worked just like the boys, running errands at the parts store and delivering cattle at the sale barn. I learned a strong work ethic, the power of teamwork, and the importance of meritocracy.
It’s a remote lifestyle, but my parents sacrificed to expose us to broader experiences like sports, music, and international travel. They taught me the value of perspective and education.
After college, I combined the classroom with my farm experience and found a role in the commodity trading industry. While men vastly dominated leadership roles, the work was absorbing, demanding, and highly competitive. Work ethic honed by haul- ing bales of hay and the impartiality of tasks on the farm taught me not to accept any bias and to keep moving forward. I had learned to be resourceful and ask questions. I began to excel and opportunities developed.
I’ve spent the last fourteen years at TD Ameritrade, helping to inspire people to take charge of their financial futures. It’s a values-driven organization that believes how you do something is just as important as the results achieved. If you focus on the client (internal and external) you will be successful. And while we are fierce competitors, we measure success on our ability to become better each and every day. My team is driven to excellence and they inspire me to be better every day and to be someone who deserves to be on their team.
My career is a significant part of my life. My most important role is being a mom. (Yes, you can do both.) I am the proud parent of a son and daughter for whom I’ve tried to be an example of strong work ethic, compassion, and dis- cipline, just like my family is for me.
I went from a dirt road to Wall Street. There’s an old stock market say- ing: “Bulls make money, bears make money, but pigs and chickens just get slaughtered.” Sometimes working in the investment world can seem harsh. But, for me, it’s just another day on the farm.
How has education affected your career?
It has been absolutely crucial to my success. I went from a two-room schoolhouse to a Big 12 university. Every experience is an opportunity for education. If you learn strong fundamentals and have a willing- ness to keep learning, you can achieve great things.
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? Strong pioneer women. I think of my grandmothers, mother, and aunts. They promoted education and didn’t let traditional stereo- types define them.
What advice would you give young women building/preparing for a career?
Acquire emotional intelligence— know your strengths. Develop them, as they will be essential to your success. Add as much varied experience as possible.