Tell us about a woman you've worked with whose influence changed how you approach life or work. There are only two women that I have worked with who had great influence to my approach to work. Both of them gave me their trust and believed in what I could do. Because of their trust, I was able to perform at a level that allowed me to be successful, which in turn made them successful and look good. People forget that the person who works for you reflects who you are. If your employee is successful, you're successful. If they fail, you fail. We need each other to be successful in any workplace.
Did you have a role model when you were growing up? How did they encourage you or influence you? Growing up, my parents were international school teachers. I had an adventurous family and grew up around the world in Germany, in northern Canada by an Inuit Village and on a U.S. Naval Station in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. In this environment, I learned to have a love for all sorts of languages, cultures and different ways of thinking. Now that I'm in the workforce I bring a love of teaching to my work and teammates. Tell us about a woman you've worked with whose influence changed how you approach life or work. One of my supervisors (now retired) also became a close friend. I was always impressed with her calm and thoughtful approach to troubleshooting and managing teams. My strengths are in strategy and achieving, while her strengths were in stepping back, taking more time for consideration and allowing the process to work. I've incorporated many of her ideas and have found them to positively affect the outcome of my projects.
Did you have a role model when you were growing up? How did they encourage you or influence you? My most impactful role models have been the people I've had in my life that never told me I couldn't do something (as long as it was constructive) – my parents 100%. As a youth, I joined the boys' baseball team. I signed up to be class president. I stood up against social norms. I was never told I shouldn't/couldn't by my parents. They allowed me the freedom to make decisions and execute them without fear that I would fail. It made me fearless. I was never held back because of my gender.
What is one of the most important challenges facing women today?Freedom to be the loudest voice in the room—to be heard on issues facing the nation's women—on an equal playing field, without prejudice. I think the next generation of women will possess the fire to lead without fear. I also believe it will be the next generation of men who won't hold them back and who will stand right by their sides.
What is the most important piece of advice you would give your 18-year old self today?Record your conversations with your grandmother. You'll want to remember her voice and listen to her stories long after she's gone.
How have your relationships with women, both coworkers and friends, influenced you in your career?Girls compete with each other. Women empower one another. If you pay attention you can see the difference in how women interact with each other. Who is competing and who is empowering? The empowering women are the most influential. They are confident, engaged and value people. They are who I strive to be at work and at home.