I have had to get comfortable with knowing that every successful person has had to face significant challenges and adversity. And I have realized that if I want to continue achieving, I will too.
Whenever I face adversity, I tell myself that it is designed to help me overcome an even bigger challenge in the future. I strive to achieve great results and never give up, even if that means redefining what achievement means to me at that moment.
One example that comes to mind is a role I had many years ago providing legal support to a low profile part of the business. I was working part time and had two small children under the age of four, and being in this role addressed my need for work-life balance. However, I realized the longer I stayed in this position, the less relevant I was becoming to my management. Although I was working hard and contributing to the company’s success, my efforts went unnoticed and opportunities for career advancement were fading. I had to decide what was most important to me, what my strengths were, and where I could add the most value doing work I enjoyed and could perform at a high level.
I talked with mentors and my boss to explore options. Those discussions led to meetings with leaders to whom I expressed an interest in future opportunities. Soon, an opportunity for a position in an area I loved became available. Because of the relationships I had developed, I got the job and was able to work from home two days a week while my children were toddlers. It was during this period that I realized the importance of taking charge of adversity to make room for what’s next.
On Finding Success and Staying Competitive
You need to anticipate changes and develop the diversity and inclusion skills, competencies, and business acumen to ensure that your company achieves a competitive advantage in the workplace, community, and marketplace. Your efforts must be directed at strengthening the business and ensuring that the workforce reflects the demographics of its customer base and stakeholders.
On the Importance of Role Models and Mentors
My previous legal supervisor has had a significant impact on my career. He gave me the opportunity to lead one of Lilly’s most significant and visible litigation projects—a role that had been filled by more senior lawyers. He didn’t over-coach or micro-manage. Instead, he helped me find my voice. I didn’t realize it at the time, but he was forcing me to work outside my comfort zone. I felt motivated and my confidence soared!
On Facing Challenges
My most difficult challenge was working for a leader who didn’t have the resilience to make hard decisions or stand by decisions that were well thought out and fully vetted. I don’t second guess my decisions very often, and I work very hard not to revisit decisions in the absence of new information that suggests an adjustment is necessary.
Monique’s Advice to Young Women Starting Careers
No woman is an island. Never assume you can be successful without the help of others. Seek advice and counsel from a mentor whose judgment you trust. Look for people who are like you, as well as those who are different from you, so that you get the benefit of diverse perspectives.