Mary Kay Wegner’s leadership philosophy comes from her days at the U.S. Naval Academy: First, do what’s best for the ship (company). Then, what’s best for your shipmate (co-workers). And only then, what’s best for you.

As president of ServiceMaster Franchise Services Group, Wegner leads a team that supports more than 6,000 independently owned franchise locations, with over 33,000 employees in all 50 states and 13 countries. She also oversees $1.3 billion in direct and indirect products covering sourcing, real estate and fleet operations; leads efforts to categorize and analyze purchasing patterns, increase supplier quality, improve supplier diversity and deliver greater value to the company; and manages one of the nation’s largest commercial fleets.

During her seven years of active duty with the Navy, Wegner worked in aviation maintenance, communication and administration for an anti-submarine squadron, and as a calculus and logistics instructor at the U.S. Naval Academy.

Wegner chairs the board of directors for Girl Scouts Heart of the South, where she shares its mission of “building girls of courage, confidence, and character who make the world better.”

“Diversity,” says Wegner, “is about tapping into the experiences of a broader group than those who look like me, or have the same background as me. It’s also about learning to meet people where they are, so that they can contribute at their highest level. Everyone, regardless of position, has a perspective that needs to be considered if the business is to find the more effective ways to accomplish its objectives. When that happens, we unlock the true strength that diversity brings to an organization.”

“I appreciate those who paved the way for me,” explains Wegner, “which is why I’m determined to help young women embrace their talent and take every opportunity to pursue their passion.” And she offers this advice: “Go for it! You’re probably ready to take on more than you think you are! Determine your purpose and keep working toward it, using every opportunity to learn. And finally, find your authentic self and be true to it. Don’t try to be someone you’re not.”