for some leaders, climbing the corporate ladder is a straight path up, while others zigzag along the way. When I finished business school in 1996, I wanted to join a company where I could continue learning and use my analytical abilities to make an impact, but I didn’t have a clear idea of exactly what type of role I desired. After a conversation with an airline recruiter, I was drawn to the complexities and challenges that define the industry.
I started my career as a pricing analyst, moved on to planning and strategy functions and later found my home in operations. The hallmarks of my success, and traits I most value in others, are an intellectual curiosity and a “put me in, coach” attitude. I ask a lot of questions with a genuine intent to learn and understand, and I often challenge current practices and beliefs. At times, I have enthusiastically accepted new roles even when they didn’t seem aligned with my experience and objectives because someone I respected and trusted asked me to.
Being willing to try new things and having demonstrated success in a variety of functions has helped me to build a diverse portfolio of experience that can translate well to a variety of leadership positions. The zigzags in my career have helped me to become a well-rounded and more effective leader.
I surround myself with people who share my quest for learning and energetic attitude. People who have been most successful in working with me are those who eagerly raise their hand when new projects or positions are presented, and consistently deliver impressive results in varied functions. Team members who have been flexible and willing to assume new roles to fill business needs earn my loyalty and support in achieving their goals, and I appreciate the trust they put in me to help manage their careers.
I am grateful for the variety of opportunities I have had throughout my career and to all of the many mentors who have helped to guide, support and coach me along the way. I’ve learned things about the kind of leader I want to be from every boss I’ve had. While there is no one set formula for career advancement, I believe that pursuing diverse experiences and a broad network of mentors opens the widest range of possibilities.