My career started very differently than I envisioned. I began working as a Fleet Service Clerk at a major airline while still in college. After 19 years and 17 jobs at the airline, everything from supervisor, general manager, employee relations, to HR director, I decided to see if I could replicate the success I had experienced in one industry into another industry where I had no experience and where I knew virtually no one.
Besides doing my homework and selecting a company that matched my personal values and goals, it was important to me to leave behind a legacy of thought leadership and an organization better than I found it. At Bell Helicopter I continue to build on a solid and growing foundation of life and work experiences at an organization that wants me to succeed. That leap of faith continues to serve me well and I have not looked back once – nor regret ted for one minute the decision I made to spread my wings and once again learn something new. It may not result in seventeen different jobs but I wel come the opportunities change brings to my career and my perspective.
I played team sports growing up and moved from guard to center on the basketball team in one season, most likely due to an extreme growth spurt. What a powerful lesson of perspective I learned about how things can appear when viewed through a different lens! I brought that experience with me as my professional career developed. Little did I know those experiences would be the foundation for the variety of posi tions I would later hold. I learned not to be afraid of changes because when you embrace them, you can see the business from multiple angles and are better for having done so.
One of the best leadership lessons I have learned is about collaborative lead ership, which means creating an envi ronment where people bring their full selves to work. This is not something that can be forced or simply occurs on its own. A true leader must cre ate a work environment where people know they can trust you and you genu inely care about them. The team then becomes a true masterpiece because the organization comes together as a col lection of fully functioning, thinking, feeling human beings who support each other and want success for the collective more than for themselves.
This philosophy seems simple, but not many female or male leaders are able to consistently pull off “walking their talk.” When it happens, leaders create remarkable teams that achieve remark able results – with and through others.