Two words are critical to the success of any leader in today’s business world: thank you. For me, they are door openers—the first words you utter after a hard discussion, a tough presentation, a heartfelt one on one. They say that no matter what outcome, I have been fortunate to spend this time with you and learn something I never knew before. For that, thank you.

I have had opportunities to do more than my parents could have ever dreamed for me. On my father’s side of the family, I am a first generation American—he came to the united states to escape Nazi Germany at the age of seven. He was thankful for the chance to be reunited with his family, to go to both college and graduate school, and to open a small engineering business in his adopted country.

On my mother’s side, I am the first person to have gone on to a higher education. My mother completed high school and rose to a senior level position in a department store in Baltimore, Maryland. She was thankful for the chance to travel the world, to interpret what would be fashionable to wear in the 70s, and to become an executive—a very rare opportunity for any woman at that time. Both my parents inspire me to remember not only from where I come, but to make sure that no one feels left behind on my life’s journey.

For the past 20 years, I have taken this inspiration to the pharmaceutical industry, marrying a love of science with an interest in global business issues. Sitting with scientists, physicians, marketers, lawyers, and accountants is an everyday event for me and the teams I lead. Respecting all that expertise and ensuring that we leave having thanked each other for our views and input have been keys to success.

I am proud to be a leader at Pfizer. For the opportunity to grow and to help others do the same, I would like to just say two simple words: thank you.