I credit my success to being fortunate to have worked for and having been challenged by highly successful and well respected leaders throughout my career. I came to this country with immigrant parents who wanted a better life for their family. My parents were professionals who worked hard and became successful through their own means.
As I attended college unsure of my future aspirations, I was guided by my mother’s advice to pursue a career in engineering. Although this wasn’t a typical profession chosen by most women, I found it interesting and was excited by the possibilities of getting into a field that offered me both academic and hands-on learning. I was fortunate to start a career at Con Edison that provided an internship program and assigned a mentor. During the first few months, I had realized that I was to have the benefit of not one, but several mentors that taught and challenged me through numerous ways.
During one of my first assignments, I had the opportunity of encountering a difficult manager who started by asking me questions on areas that I had no knowledge of. However, this manager expected I should know the answers and expected a response the next day. I followed through by trying to learn and understand everything that I could possibly put my hands on to respond to his questions. I would have my responses ready only to find out that he had additional questions which I would again have to follow up on. This continued every day for several weeks. I later realized that I came to learn a great deal more and credit the fact that this difficult manager actually was instrumental in influencing me to push beyond my limits. As I have moved up in my career, I feel it is now my role to ask and challenge those young minds that need the push to learn all they can.
Often it is hard to spot those that mentor us in our careers since they come in various forms, such as supportive individuals that can provide you guidance and advice, and then those not easily recognized who may give you a difficult time expecting you to rise to their challenge. As I evolve in my career, I still remain in contact with the individuals that have helped me attain my success. I am able to laugh with them on the challenges they provided and still seek their advice.