Growing up in New Orleans, I developed an appreciation for the sensory experience of sharing a flavorful meal with friends and family. To this day, I enjoy watching people use food and beverage as a catalyst for connecting with one another. During the course of my career, I’ve worked at several great organizations with talented mentors. Today I’m fortunate to hold a job that is every marketer’s dream—developing the marketing agenda and working with a terrific team to build global brands for a well-respected restaurant industry leader. Early on, I learned to take advantage of every professional and personal opportunity to grow. I hope tomorrow’s leaders will appreciate what I’ve found to be the keys to success:

  • BE READY FOR CHALLENGING ASSIGNMENTS. With experience and encouragement from several role models, I’ve been able to take on some large, challenging assignments—most of which were fraught with risk, as well as the potential for reward. Some of my most rewarding experiences were the most difficult. Having a clear vision, championing the project day in and day out and building a coalition along the way are tremendously rewarding and go a long way toward ensuring a successful outcome.
  • BELIEVE IN YOURSELF. Inevitably, there will be times when you are the only one who does. When paving new pathways or discovering new processes, people may question your ability, become discouraged by the change involved and lose their resolve. Use that energy as fuel to keep going—and ultimately achieve your vision. Once you’ve achieved success, challenge yourself to do it again. Your career is not a 50-yard dash, it’s a marathon.
  • BALANCE IS EXTINCT. I don’t subscribe to the idea of balance. I do believe in defining your principles and values and determining how to stay true to them—especially when they are challenged. Sometimes I’ll work 24/7 to get a big project over the goal line, but there also are times when I click off the BlackBerry to enjoy time with my family.

It’s impossible to achieve perfect work-life balance in day-today life. However, it is possible to balance out your various commitments over time. That said, don’t forget to have a life. You are a whole person. Celebrate it!