My parents encouraged me to break from the local status quo and prepare to go to college outside of New York State. At 16, I enrolled at The Ohio State University. Attending one of the largest universities in the United States, I studied and interacted with people from all over the country and all over the world. This first exposure to Diversity and Inclusion opened my eyes to the global community and valuing people for who they are. Although I was different coming from Queens, New York, and younger than most other students, I felt accepted and valued.
Early in my career, I met my mentor, Peter Panken. As my boss, he guided, supported and coached me (painfully at times). He provided stretch opportunities by assigning work on challenging matters and, at times, with more difficult law firm partners and clients. Looking back, those challenges provided the greatest opportunities, honed the skills necessary to be successful and developed my confidence.
At Terex, I have had the opportunity to take on challenges and responsibilities outside of a traditional legal position. Working hard – with management support and confidence – has allowed me to grow from a U.S.focused employment lawyer to the Chief Ethics & Compliance Officer of a multinational company, taking on challenges and achieving results I could never have imagined.
My success has been a team effort. I could not have achieved what I have without the love, support and patience of my husband and children.
Recently, Terex Chairman and CEO Ron DeFeo spoke at the Terex Women’s Summit, where he encouraged us to be the “CEOs of our own careers.” This brought clarity to me as I continue to reflect on my future career progression. It is up to each of us to determine where we want to be, what we need to do to get there and make it happen.
My advice to others:
- Be yourself and believe in yourself.
- Be courageous and take risks. Don’t fear the challenges.
- Work hard. Stretch yourself. Roll up your sleeves.
- Always act with integrity. It will inspire trust and confidence.
- Make things happen. Don’t wait for opportunities to come to you.
- Respectfully challenge the status quo and look to improve.
- Mentor others and find mentors for yourself.
- Follow up and follow through.
- Be a good listener.
- Embrace criticism.