I knew early on that I wanted to go to college, pursue a career and be in a position to support myself, and eventually, my family. In school I really enjoyed math and science, and while I seriously thought about becoming a doctor, I realized that was a long road to follow, and I needed to support myself a lot sooner than I could by going to medical school.

My earliest employment opportunities were as a babysitter, a camp counselor, a cashier at Burger King, and as a hotel clerk; all of which required interaction with people, which I thoroughly enjoyed. My interest in the corporate world was developed as I observed my mother, who worked as a secretary at a large consumer products company, and my best friend’s father, who was a top corporate executive with a manufacturing firm. I began to understand that it took teamwork to accomplish goals in a corporation, and since I was good with numbers and enjoyed developing relationships with people, it seemed financial management would be a good fit for me.

My advice to women entering the corporate world is to find a company whose products and people you can truly relate to and enjoy. Build strong relationships inside and outside the company, and constantly find ways to learn, grow and contribute more to the success of the company.

I was fortunate to begin my career in banking, where I learned about companies in different industries, and found that my favorite was food retailing. Later I joined Safeway Inc. handling investor relations. I was later given opportunities to manage the public affairs and treasury departments, and to get involved in strategic development. I have worked with some wonderful people who have taught me so much through the years, and for that I am truly grateful.

It has also been very helpful that I work for a company that values diversity, and has provided opportunities for women. Today, Safeway has a terrific women’s network that provides a forum for women to hear from speakers, share concerns and interact in informal settings. Developing future leaders is a focused effort at Safeway today, and I plan to do my part in ensuring a strong leadership for years to come.