Before becoming an attorney, I understood that the path to success was hard work, striving for academic excellence, and having confidence in my abilities. Even in my younger years, I faced challenges and obstacles that could have inhibited my success. Never accepting the idea that I could not do something helped me face challenges and find solutions.

After becoming an attorney, I learned that what worked to achieve academic success was insufficient to achieve professional success. While working hard to produce an excellent work product is important, just working on the intellectual or academic part is not enough. I learned that developing relationships and establishing strong networks and personal connections with the ability to communicate effectively was an important skill to develop. The function of an attorney is to provide counsel and have clients and colleagues follow that counsel. In order to achieve that, those clients and colleagues must have respect and confidence in you—that requires leadership on your part.

Achieving success in any field also requires a genuine style of leadership. Leading without compromising your character or integrity, but understanding the needs of the people you seek to lead—be it at an organization, on a project, a transaction, or in negotiation across the table from colleagues who may have different goals from yours—is critical.

How has education affected your career?

Education has nourished my intellectual curiosity and opened doors to a challenging professional life and the opportunity to give back through mentorship.

Has discrimination affected you as a woman in the workplace? How did you deal with it?

Women (especially minority women) face many unique challenges in the workplace. The best way to overcome any challenges is to have confidence in yourself and having your voice heard. These two basic factors are critical and important for effective leadership.