I have had the wonderful opportunity to be a part of the workforce since I was nineteen years old. Having postponed my college education, my career path was somewhat nontraditional. Clad in suit and uncertainty, I started my first full-time position answering the phone for a local information technology (IT) recruiting company, and then began making cold calls, on my own and without much guidance.

I became a student of life. Looking back, it was an exceptional experience and a time of learning. Having grown up in the business world and the IT industry, I have seen tremendous change as women are becoming a driving force in the industry and diversity in the workplace has flourished. I am privileged to be a part of this momentum.

Early in my career I faced many challenges. I was young, the IT business was a male-dominated industry, and I did not have a college degree or support network. In spite of these obstacles, I took risks, invested in myself, and accepted every opportunity to learn. Today, the workplace is quite different, with baby boomers working with millenials. This has created a strong intergenerational workforce. As the country continues in its tradition as a melting pot, so too, does the workplace. At our firm, our teams are a mix of youthful and tenured recruiters and staff from all races, religions, genders, ethnicities, socioeconomic status, and sexual orientation.

In addition to my daily work, my leadership role at NextGen allows me to mentor staff members, develop new programs, and help create a corporate culture that encourages social and civic responsibility. Our company has created initiatives that combine these responsibilities. I have discovered the rewards, both professionally and personally, that arise from volunteering.

My goal has always been to be successful in business; one must assume challenges, learn from mentors, create a support network, spur change, strive to learn, maintain a strong work ethic, and be willing to take risks. Most importantly, discover your passion.

How has education affected your career?

I have embraced formal education a little later in my career. Today, I have a greater appreciation for the curriculum and a better understanding of how it is relative to life and business.

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?

My CEO, Carmen Jacob, has taught me to take risks and to create my own opportunities. She has empowered me to grow both personally and professionally.

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

I encountered some adverse attitudes early on in my career, but despite the negativity I embraced challenges. I believe that we all create our own destiny and control our future.