I believe goal-setting is the key to career success. I usually develop a five-year strategic plan, and in the fourth year, I reevaluate the plan for necessary changes. At the age of fifty-five, I used this strategy to make a cause-focused career move. I quit my job in Mobile, Alabama and took a pay cut to move to Dallas, Texas, for the opportunity to be closely involved in sickle cell disease research. I fully understood the needs of the patients and families suffering with this disease, and I wanted to support the researcher working on a cure. I was truly surprised that I had the courage to move.

I firmly believe it is important to have a purpose to your work.

The mentors in my life provide me with the benefit of several different points of view, but I am responsible for making the final decisions. I measure my personal growth and accomplishments while supporting the vision of the company. I learned early that to be successful, you can’t be the weakest link on the team, and it’s okay to be cast in a supporting role in order to achieve the common goal of the team. But to pull this off, you must be confident in your own skin.

On the Person Who Has Had the Most Profound Influence on My Life
My greatest role models were my parents. My mother taught me the importance of family. She showed me that a woman’s strength comes from knowing her value in relationships and how to qualify those relationships. My father instilled in me the idea that integrity is more valuable than money, and that keeping my word and working hard would take me a long way in life.

The other mentor in my life was my dear friend Judge Cain Kennedy, a domestic court judge. I learned from him that nothing is ever the way it looks at first glance; sometimes you have to peel back layers of the onion to see the truth.

On What It Takes to Succeed and Stay Competitive
When it comes to your career, view it as a brand, and protect it similarly. Know your worth and constantly improve your skills to reinvent yourself as the environment changes.