To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people… to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a little better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is the meaning of success.”

I keep this quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson near my desk as a reminder to live my life by helping others to succeed. My graduate training and subsequent first job were in career counseling. My primary focus is still on helping others think through what they love to do and then helping them find a way to do it. Through the years, I have been privileged to work with many remarkable people in pursuit of noble personal and organizational goals.

Growing up in a U.S. Army family, dedicated to “Duty, Honor, Country,” I learned that serving others is what matters most. In addition, I learned that teamwork, flexibility and the ability to “bloom where you are planted” are essential qualities of success.

Leadership was a natural part of our family life. I was expected to do the harder right rather than the easier wrong and to watch out for those less able. The golden rule was followed, and my sister and I were encouraged to do our best and to set our personal goals high. My parents constantly reinforced that we could do anything we chose to do and that we should not settle for anything less than our dreams. This strong foundation enabled me to move confidently in the direction of my dreams and to help others do the same.

Along the way, I realized that being a learner is very important. Approach things with a beginner’s mind and ask questions for understanding. In the end, each of us is accountable for our thoughts, words and actions, so it is important to spend time thinking, reflecting and then sharing our views with others.

Helping others achieve their goals gives me the greatest pleasure and sense of accomplishment. I am blessed to be supported by a wonderful family who understands me and my motivation.

In closing, I trust that each of you will follow your passion and invest yourself completely in the pursuit of the noble goal of your dreams.