My first mentor was probably my grandfather, the first lawyer in our family. Unable to support his family in private practice during the years of segregation, he worked for over 30 years for the U.S. Postal Service. After his retirement, he opened a law practice.

Growing up, I spent many evenings in my grandfather’s sitting room, debating a wide range of issues from sports and entertainment to politics and local affairs. He taught me the value of being able to articulate a well-reasoned opinion and to never back down when my position is challenged. I learned to speak up for the things that are important to me.

I knew as a young teen that I wanted to go to law school. I had many opportunities to hone my debate skills in that sitting room, and I thought that I would make a great trial attorney. I also believed that I wanted to work with businesses, to help them operate profitably within the constraints of laws and regulations. My parents and grandparents drilled into me that a good education creates options, and options allow you to pursue your passions. I learned to establish a plan to reach my goals and prepare for my success.

During the course of my career, I’ve had many wonderful experiences that contributed to my professional growth and development—the best of which involved committed, hard working, courageous, and caring people—but I’ve also had challenging situations, which became stepping stones. Early in my career, I had to learn to be comfortable and thrive in work environments where I was often the first or only female, or the first or only minority. Later, transitioning from a law firm environment to a corporate environment, I had to learn how to adopt and embrace a strong corporate culture. And now, as a wife, a mother of teen-aged daughters, and a senior vice president at a Fortune 500 company, I face the constant challenge of balancing family, work, and community involvement. I’ve learned to let obstacles become tools for success.

I realize today that I am very fortunate to work for a company that shares many of my core values, including a commitment to people. UPS is dedicated to developing leaders through initiatives and formal programs that offer tremendous opportunities for employees to grow professionally and personally.

My final words of advice: Be open to new opportunities and don’t be afraid to push beyond your comfort zone. You will find a new world of possibilities and will be rewarded by your efforts and accomplishments.