VP, Business Development, Huntington Learning Centers
In your opinion, what qualities make a “Power Woman”?
A “Power Woman” is rooted in confidence, integrity, humility, empathy, compassion, grit, and resilience. She knows her worth and what she brings to the table. She understands what it takes to accomplish a goal and to effect change. She’s a relationship builder, a unifier, a problem-solver, and a visionary focused on creating a better tomorrow.
With all the different issues one could focus on, how do you balance your efforts in pursuit of gender equality? Is it a global approach or a specific issue that you are passionate about?
The most impactful way forward for gender equality is to lead by example, which is what I do everyday. Women in leadership positions show, not tell, that we have a voice and have an impact. The specific issue I’m focused on is education because through it anything is possible. It is important to me to be visible and to surround myself with positive and strong women.
If you could have someone else’s job for a day, who and what would it be? Why?
It would be interesting to walk in Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos’, shoes for a day to see what’s actually going on in our education system and to see what needs to happen. These 24 hours would shine a light as to what I have to do to effect change and truly help every student get the best education possible.
Which historical figure do you most identify with?
I most identify with Margaret Thatcher because she got the job done and famously stated, “If you want something said, ask a man; if you want something done, ask a woman.” She led by example, was a true trailblazer, true to her values and core, never faulted and always prevailed. I completely identify with her uncompromising sense of wisdom, power, vision, and unwavering sense of self.
In what way do you work for women’s power and equality? What do you think is the number one action we as a society can take (e.g. affirmative action)?
While the demands of my career make it difficult for me to be actively involved in politics on a day-to day basis, I am a firm believer that significant social change can come as much from the private sector as from the public one. I believe that expanding access to education is the number one action society can take to break down barriers and ensure a more prosperous future–knowledge empowers people everyday to make positive decisions with lasting outcomes. For this reason, I launched a program at Huntington dedicated to help special needs students gain access to their education that is their Federal right. Huntington partners with families and schools to help special needs students gain access to the appropriate educational services. Through this program, and many others, the private sector can continue to pave the way for positive change and a better future.
Can you tell us a short story in which you encountered a block in the work place and what you did about it?
As Vice President of Business Development, part of my job is collaborating with different teams and getting ideas off the ground. One such idea was not making progress. I stepped back, reviewed who was involved at each level, and reassembled the team. By piecing the parts together again, I was able to determine what team members were incentivized by and how to motivate them. It was through understanding their wants and needs that we moved forward and rolled out a new program that everyone at every level was empowered by and excited to implement.
Have you seen any changes in the political landscape for women over the past few years? If so, what are they?
Yes, there are more political conversations and a rise in active participation. These actions create voices, opinions, ideas, and contribute to what Democracy means today through all lenses. We, as citizens, are becoming more active and I believe it is because of “The Trump Effect.” Now, people are speaking up and out about what Democracy means and, through these actions, we will continue to see engagement and change.
Was there a defining moment or experience in your life that led you to where you are today? What was it?
I grew up in the world of Huntington Learning Center. As a child, I attended the center to prepare for college, visited centers across the country with my parents, and appeared in marketing campaigns; but, I never took this world for granted and never assumed I would join the business. It was important for me to have a career outside of Huntington, which I did for over a decade, before leading me to where I am today. The defining moment was when I understood the magnitude of what was before me and what my parents built. At this moment, I understood that a family business is more than just one person, it is a legacy and needs to be led into the future, which is my job to lead it forward, protect it, grow it, and make an impact. Everything I have done since a young age has lead me to where I am and everything I have done, and do, has the ethos of helping and expanding. Now, through Huntington, I help the next generation gain the skills, confidence, and motivation to reach their potential.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Show up and be ready for anything.
Who do you most admire? Why?
Spanx founder, Sara Blakely, has redefined what it means to be an American businesswoman today. I admire her tenacity to see a problem, develop a solution. and do so in an unbelievable way. She has total grit, continues to breaks boundaries, all while raising a family and staying true to herself and her beliefs.
What is your favorite book (fiction or non-fiction)?
David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell. Whenever I face unfamiliar situations at work or in my personal life, I love to pick up this book and remind myself that every scenario is different and try to treat it as such. The more I pause to reflect and evaluate the situation, the more likely I am to tackle it in new ways better set myself up for success and learn something new.
What do you most value in your friends?
Loyalty. Life moves so quickly and pulls us in so many different directions. I love to surround myself with energetic and passionate people. The ones who remain loyal and within arms reach, throughout the highs and lows, hold a special place in my heart.
Which trait do you most deplore in yourself? In others?
I most deplore my lack of patience. I was born just about two months early; so, since birth, I’ve had stuff to do, which sometimes means little patience. In others, I find it very frustrating to find common ground with those who let judgement block their feelings and actions. When people are more open, I think we will find, more often than not, that our values, beliefs, and goals are similar.
What do you consider to be the most over rated virtue?
Obedience. As the famous quote goes, “Well-behaved women rarely make history,” and I believe that! While one can never underestimate the power of kindness, politeness, and working as a team, the concept of simply following orders because you’re told to has never sat well with me (just ask my parents). I respect leaders who listen to what their teams and colleagues have to say and take their opinions into account–something that I, as a leader, make a point to do also.