There are not a great many black female deputy general counsels in corporate America, and there are fewer still whose job combines all the areas and responsibilities of my job. I am fortunate that throughout my life I have always been recognized and rewarded for my hard work. At Ryder, I was promoted over the years to the position I have today without ever having to ask for a promotion. This is a testament to the company and to the rewards of hard work.
My leadership style has been greatly influenced by my bosses. From my previous boss, I learned that it is important not to back down when you know you are right, even when you say things that people may not always want to hear. I learned that building relationships is a marathon, not a sprint. From my current boss, I learned about the importance of using diplomacy to get things done. My leadership style blends both of these perspectives. One of the most important lessons I have learned is that a high salary does not equal happiness. When I moved from New York City to Miami, I took a 50 percent pay cut. I had a young child, and I was a single mother. I was willing to take a lower salary because I needed to be close to family in Miami.
When I left that law firm to take a position at ryder, I also took a pay cut. I enjoyed the counseling aspect of the law, and I knew I would be happier helping others working in-house at a corporation instead of at a law firm doing battle against other lawyers in the courtroom. I thrived because i loved what i was doing, and the higher pay and the titles followed naturally.
My career has flourished because I followed what I loved. My best advice is to do what you enjoy because the success will follow. Also, network constantly and be open to having all kinds of mentors and accepting all types of feedback. The insight you take away from each person will help you create your own personal brand of wisdom to lead you to success.