When I was a young girl I never dreamed I would be a lawyer, work for a major corporation, and hold a position others aspire to have. But I have no illusions: these accomplishments are not mine alone. I’ve had help from many mentors along the way.

My mother was my first mentor. From the day I was born, she provided me with support and assurance that I had the necessary skills to excel in all endeavors. Whether it was instilling the importance of education or shuttling me back and forth from dancing, swimming or music lessons, she made sure that I had distinctive opportunities.

Now I find myself in a position of responsibility as a mentor of other women. I consistently emphasize five key points in my mentoring groups:

  • First, DEVELOP STRONG LEADERSHIP SKILLS; you can learn new technical skills while climbing the corporate ladder, but leadership skills area constant imperative for success.
  • Second, GAIN CROSS-FUNCTIONAL EXPERIENCE, especially when you work in a large corporation. As I moved to jobs with increasing responsibility, I acquired a broad range of experience(marketing, sales, regulatory, call centers and field operations), which gave me an understanding of how teams must work together.
  • Third, TAKE RISKS. I relocated four times for a new job opportunity.
  • Fourth, NEVER COMPROMISE YOUR INTEGRITY. The success you achieve will be meaningless if it’s built on a shaky foundation.
  • Finally, DO NOT SACRIFICE YOUR FAMILY. When you’re lying on your deathbed, are you going to recall memories of the XYZ merger, or your son’s first steps?

My nature is to continuously strive for improvement. I am my own chief competitor, and I never allow myself to become completely satisfied with my latest accomplishment. This is what pushed me to pursue both a law degree and MBA. This pioneering spirit has inspired me to take on new roles and to accept increasingly difficult responsibilities. At Verizon, I am leading a team in deploying fiber optics, a project that will change the entire telecommunications network.

My fantasy job is not as CEO of a major corporation. Iwant to help women build their self-esteem, encourage their pursuit of academics, and develop life skills necessary for true independence. In so doing, I can sharethose precious and intangible gifts so graciously given to me.