It’s interesting to look back at my life and consider all of the experiences that have led me to where I am today. It has not been easy—there have been long nights at the office, constant travel to different cities throughout the country, and many skipped meals. However, through the promotions, lonely nights, and many interesting people I’ve met, I am blessed to have a leadership platform to encourage and inspire determined women who work alongside me.

Throughout my career, I have faced different obstacles at different times. In the first few years, I found myself being held back because I was younger than most of my team, yet I was outperforming them or was willing to take on more tasks than they were. Later on, I encountered challenges being a woman in a male-dominated company. Although it can be frustrating, I try to remember the words of Sarah Chapin, who taught me to never let being a woman prevent me from achieving my goals. I have challenged myself to be confident in my ideas and opinions, withstand challenges, and fight to let my voice be heard. I’ve been blessed to have wonderful mentors and role models that helped me to overcome those obstacles.

Some of the greatest lessons I’ve learned are to always keep your humility and to never think you are finished learning and improving. The most influential leaders are those that continually learn new things about their profession and try to better themselves each day. I also like to remind myself and those who work for me to stay focused on what is important, both at home and at work. To work hard is necessary, but life outside of work is truly what matters.

Overall, I think true leadership is about working purposefully and strategically, taking accountability for my decisions, and inspiring others to work at their best ability. I try to work daily with this mindset. I am so grateful for all of my experiences thus far in my career and I cannot wait to see what happens in the years to come.

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?

Doug Brooks, who was CEO of Brinker. He has been a major influence in my life and a mentor and teacher. He has taught me the importance of giving back and never settling.

Has discrimination affected you as a woman in the workplace? How did you deal with it?

Yes, but not in every job. I have experienced some struggles in being a woman in a leadership role. I realized that was not the work environment for me and decided to move on. I tried to make positive change while I was there, but ultimately decided it was not a place that I would succeed.