Success is rarely the result of one person’s action; rather, it is usually the result of leadership and teamwork. That certainly has been my experience. As an executive, I strive to create a team atmosphere where each member of the team has an opportunity to achieve individual goals while also contributing to the larger organizational objectives.
I have filled my conference room walls with stamp images depicting various comic superheroes. These seemingly-ordinary, but really larger-than-life characters are the best illustration of my personal and professional philosophy. Each individual has special qualities that contribute to his or her success; but lasting success is achieved through cooperative efforts—melding individual strengths and “powers” to benefit a greater objective or good.
Bringing diverse skills and perspectives together to work cooperatively on a project began with my first job out of college as an environmental analyst. My integrated project team included professionals with varied backgrounds—chemists, public policy analysts, engineers, lawyers, and sociologists. We developed public policy proposals resulting in the first national guidelines for the transport and disposal of medical waste. This experience helped frame my career.
My advocacy and management skills have been honed through a variety of experiences, from managing large federal programs worth billions of dollars to owning a small business and managing political candidate and issue campaigns, to running business sector teams in the private sector. Today, I am fortunate to work with a most talented group of professionals at the postal service.
Like many Latinas, my support structure is my family. In many ways, my parents are still my mentors. There are two major lessons they shared with us. The first is they have challenged us to have the courage to succeed. I am proud to be an eighth generation New Mexican and the first member of my family to receive a law degree.
The second lesson sounds fundamental, but is often the hardest, and that is to listen. listen to yourself, listen to your co-workers and listen to your critics. You never learn by talking; you learn by listening. And in learning, you grow both as a person and as an executive.
My experiences have taught me to always aim high, work hard, and care deeply about what I believe in. Remember, power comes from within, so trust in your unique abilities. Each of us is a superhero in our own way, bringing our special strengths and abilities to the table to achieve success, both personally and professionally.