I have told the women in my firm—many times—that personal relationships are the key to my success. It is so much easier to succeed when you enjoy the people that you work for and with each day. Invest in the relationships in your life. People remember how you treat them and how you make them feel. I took the time to truly know the people I worked with (both colleagues and clients), and it made my career much more enjoyable and successful. I am also open about myself with them. Whether you’re closing a deal or setting up a play date, if the people in your life trust you, you will have more opportunities for success. And you’ll have a safety net, which helps you to be more comfortable with taking risks in your career.

I also believe that it is crucial to define your vision of personal success and stay true to it. Having a clear picture of what you want to achieve will guide you, focus you, and help you stand out from others around you, whether in your company, with clients, or in the community. Too often, young women are defined by others’ expectations of what they should be or what they should achieve. I knew early on what I wanted my career and my life to look like, and that clarity was invaluable as I shaped my path. I think of my goals each morning and build my day around what I want to achieve. I have no doubt that my determination and focus contributed significantly to the achievements I have made in my personal life and in my career.

On Finding Success and Staying Competitive
1. Listen to everyone; then make your own (informed) decision
2. Push the envelope; do not settle for fine, when you can be great
3. Take risks; of course you have to weigh the risks, but you cannot improve and grow without them

On the Importance of Role Models and Mentors
The founders of Morris, Manning & Martin were incredible mentors. AB Martin taught me to always do the right thing (even when it is the harder thing); Joe Manning showed me the importance of compassion; and Sonny Morris taught me to never stop pushing for higher and better.

On Facing Challenges
Taking over as managing partner of the firm in the midst of the recession in 2009 was extremely difficult, but it was a challenge I was up for. And it has been the greatest professional role of my life.

Louise’s Advice to Young Women Starting Careers
Take risks and believe in your own success. The confidence is more important than the outcome. No matter what happens, you will grow.