Success is never achieved in isolation. I have been fortunate to benefit from a variety of people who have helped me to achieve success throughout my career. Many have been mentors, many have been peers and others have been sponsors, both at Ernst & Young and in the wider business community.
With women still notably under represented on corporate boards and in the Csuite, I think every professional, especially women, should ensure that they not only have mentors, but also sponsors. I believe a mentor is some one who provides perspective, advice and insight. A sponsor is someone who advocates and who takes risks on your behalf to position you for visibility, relationships and career opportunities.
I’ve been fortunate enough to participate in programs such as the Inclusiveness Leadership Program at Ernst & Young that have opened up new career opportunities for me. This program pairs highpotential partners and principals across all dimensions of diversity with an executive coach and members of our Americas Executive Board who serve as mentors.
As someone who has benefited from sponsorship and mentorship, I believe it is my responsibility to help develop those around me. I adhere to the say ing “be the change that you want to see in the world,” which is why I’m actively involved with Ernst & Young’s Career Watch program for women and minorities who are on the partner track. The program is designed to help ensure highperforming women and minorities at the firm receive the expe riences and opportunities they need to advance to the partnership.
I often tell those I mentor that they should have a vision or a destination in mind for their career, but at the same time they must remain open to the unexpected opportunities. In my own career, I’ve taken various paths through roles in our offices in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. I’ve also seized the chance to work with international clients on global projects. Working in different locations and with our professionals around the world has enabled me to hone and develop a global mindset that has been extremely valuable to me in my current role.
In honor of those who have influ enced and guided my career, I remain committed to seeking out ways to work with and guide the next genera tions of leaders. I believe if we take care of the people, the people will take care of everything else – consider it the payitforward legacy we all strive to achieve.