My advice for tomorrow’s corporate leaders:
FIND A MENTOR AND BE A MENTOR.
It’s important to not only be interested in your career, but also other people’s careers. Early in my career, someone gave me some good advice. They said, you can’t just work hard—you have to really manage your own career. Until that time, I thought people would just notice how hard I was working, but I needed to learn how to take charge of my career. I’ve always been involved in counseling, mentoring, and recruiting—because I enjoyed it, but also because I felt, as an African American woman, there were a lot of women and minority professionals that needed someone like me to encourage and advise them. There were people who did that for me when I was younger, and I feel I have to do the same for those that come after me.
STAY POSITIVE, ASK FOR WHAT YOU WANT, AND TAKE RISKS.
As an African American woman, I’ve had to overcome negative perceptions of my abilities and not allow those biases to define me. I’ve had to learn how to maintain a positive attitude despite these reactions and focus on my goals. Once people see you perform well, biases go away. You have to ask for what you want, take risks, take on new opportunities, and work diligently to accomplish your goals.