My grandfather taught me most everything I have ever needed to know about achieving success—in a word: values. He used to say “you can lose all your money and you can still rebuild your life—but if you lose your values, you can never regain them, because people will never trust you again.” The values of respect, integrity and honesty have helped me succeed in business and in life. Until I was 13, my grandfather and grandmother raised my sister and me; those early years with my grandparents had the biggest impact on helping shape my values and my perspective on life.

We lived in the barrio of East Los Angeles, and although we never had much money, somehow there was always enough to eat and more than enough love to go around. I watched my grandparents work as a team to provide for us, and for each other, through good and bad times. Through it all, they both maintained a positive, can-do spirit.

That can-do spirit has carried me through some tough times in my own life. As a single mother of two, with only a high school diploma to my name, I struggled to make ends meet. Ever the optimist, and a persistent one, I managed to get a job in human resources at Southern California Edison. Frank Quevedo, a senior employee, took me under his wing, gave me projects to help me grow, and encouraged me to pursue my dreams with a college education. Having someone in my professional life believe in me, especially early in my career, has made all the difference.

Ultimately, I ended up with three degrees, and Imarried again. Just as Mr. Quevedo’s mentoring helped me professionally, I gained personal and professional strength from my husband, Larry. When I began to pursue my own career,this former Air Force officer shared in the parenting and home duties, and served as my own personal cheerleader. My professional success has much to do with the balance I have been able to achieve, thanks to my husband.

I believe in giving back. Because I have been blessed with nurturing people in my life, I work to offer that same kind of support to those around me. My job at ACS allows me to give back to our employees in many ways, and to help ACS give back to the community. My position also gives me the privilege of serving as a role model, living out the values that my grandfather taught me.