There is no single path to success. All professionals take a different journey in their career, but I believe that there are standard pillars of success that we can use to guide our professional and personal lives and, therefore, lead our way to success.

Success does not happen on its own, nor does it happen alone. Tap into the realm outside of your comfort zone and always accept accountability. Being willing to take risks and assume responsibility beyond your normal role are integral parts of individual success.

Appreciate your job, but also appreciate your life. A healthy work-life balance isn’t just HR “speak.” It’s a reality that leaders today must embrace for their employees and for themselves. From being raised in a funeral home to coping with the death of my husband in 2002, I have a personal appreciation for the fragility of life and a deeper understand- ing of balance. My work-life balance has created an open understanding with my employees and has helped to open doors in my career.

The CEO needs different information than the operations manager does. Understanding your audiences and clearly communicating the most important and relevant information to them are fundamental for success. Effective and efficient communication not only fosters a unified understanding but also builds strong relationships and a very high level of teamwork.

Passion breeds passion. Surround yourself with people who feel the same way that you do about your job and about life. I believe that the most successful leaders are those who have the passion and boundless enthusiasm to inspire departments to follow their lead. Celebrate success, and thank all of those who have helped you to be who you are today—and those who will help you to be the leader of tomorrow.