What are you most proud of in your career?

I am most proud of the trust and loyalty that I’ve been able to earn throughout my career.  I’ve promoted my way up at every job I’ve worked because of the trust and loyalty that are so important to me.  This path has taken me to my dream job, leading a team of amazing people as Director of Product Development and helping to operate and build my favorite company as a member of our Leadership Team. 

What do you enjoy most about your role?

Without a doubt, what I enjoy most about my role is the people that I get to work with every day.  We have an amazing company culture that fits me like a glove, and it’s only possible because of the employees.  We have some of the most creative and intelligent people in a highly collaborative environment.  And they still somehow manage to be fun and hilarious! How could I not love my role?

Share some details about a woman who has inspired you – personally or professionally.

As cliché as it is, I will have to choose my mom.  Before I can explain why though, I first have to tell you about my dad (she’ll absolutely love that).  My dad is a no-nonsense kind of person who doesn’t pull any punches.  He isn’t known for concerning himself with other people’s feelings when there is work to be done.  Anyone that knows us both can confirm without a doubt that the influence from my paternal side is STRONG.  My mom, on the other hand, is the kindest person I’ve ever known (thankfully for my father and I, because nobody else would tolerate us, I’m sure).  Somehow, she managed to teach me empathy and kindness even through the emotional barriers built by many generations of Fords. 

One of my earliest memories is of my mom helping me understand why me and my friends shouldn’t laugh at the boy from school who always had dirty clothes and an unpleasant odor.  I don’t recall her exact words, but what I remember clearly is that I was able to understand that his problems were likely completely out of his control.  I had never considered the possibility that his life at home was so much different than mine.  The rest of my senior year was much better after that realization.  I’m kidding…it was around second grade, I think. 

Those small lessons in kindness continue to prove so valuable to me, because empathy is not something that always comes naturally to me.  In its natural state, it usually takes the form of giving people the benefit of doubt.  I believe it’s kindest to assume the best intentions of people until they’ve proven otherwise, and I 100% got it from my mama.

What advice do you give other women in the industry?

My advice would be to ignore the imposter syndrome!  True, imposter syndrome can affect everyone, regardless of gender.  But when you have a lack of representation in the work force and wage gaps across the country, under-represented groups like women may find it easier to believe the sub conscious voices in our heads.  Don’t listen.  Do the work, continue to learn, listen to constructive feedback, but ignore that bully that lives inside your head.  Believe me, this is not easy, but it is possible with intention and effort.