I was raised to believe that the way to be successful was to work hard and do the right thing. I believed that if I were dedicated and loyal, and dealt with everyone honestly and fairly, that my success would be assured.

While I still believe in the intrinsic value of those attributes, as my career progressed I realized that opportunity is the real key to advancement. You must actively seek any opportunity to make an impact. These opportunities may not always be obvious, will frequently be unglamorous, and may involve some element of risk. You must consider each opportunity as it relates to your longterm goal. (There aren’t too many shortcuts.) Remember that in all cases, it is how you take advantage of every opportunity that defines your career path.

In my 19 years with New York Life, I have been presented with many opportunities to help me develop and grow. At New York Life, we emphasize the importance of talent management and developmental assignments. I made several lateral moves into new functions in order to build my skill set. These moves ultimately set the foundation for later advancement. It is now my responsibility as a senior manager to create opportunities for others and to be a mentor to aspiring employees. Building the talent around me is one way I contribute to the long-term growth of the company.

When you share your talent, others share their talent with you. Building a team with diverse experiences creates opportunities for all to learn. Appreciate those who contribute to your growth, and they will reward you with loyalty. If people hold you in esteem and believe that you care about their success, they are much more likely to work hard for you. My success is not so much about what I have accomplished on my own but what I have achieved with the talented people I have been lucky to have in my operations.

Personal hard work and integrity get you into the game. Seizing opportunities when they come, working with others to create opportunities, and learning from them all are the keys of success.