When I look at where I am today in my career, where I have come from and where I hope to go, there are hundreds of small decisions and opportunities and a bit of luck that got me to the place I am and that will also help me going forward. Among all of those choices and opportunities, there are a few that in retrospect have made the biggest impact on my success and my satisfaction.

First, everything stems from a first impression. The transition from school to work can be challenging. It is important in every job to start off with a good impression. Determining how to make that positive first impression is critical. A good place to start is by modeling your approach after others around you that are successful. In most environments it is easy to see the true stars. Modeling their approach always involves a strong work ethic and will start you on the road to success. Early in your career the first impression is an unspoken contributing factor to the assignments and projects you get.

Second, the key to career longevity is finding passion for what you do and keeping that passion alive. Given the time we all spend focused on our career, whether fulltime, part-time or flex-time, if you aren’t passionate about what you are doing, or an aspect of what you are doing, then your career will become just work. Passion is contagious! Working with someone who is passionate about their job creates an atmosphere of energy and excitement and opportunities for success. The aspects of my job that I am most passionate about have changed over the 25 years that I have worked for BDO, but there has always been the opportunity to seek out new challenges and new passions.

Finally, I know I would not be where I am today without the support of people who encouraged me to take chances and helped me to succeed. As I have become more senior in my field, I have gained equally as much from mentoring others. When I talk to someone about what I do or opportunities for them, I inevitably find that I am re-energized after the discussion and have benefitted as much from the conversation as the other person.

As I look to the road ahead, with all of its twists and blind curves, new challenges, new opportunities and, most importantly, working with a wide variety of people, it leads to an exciting future.