Education: BS, Accounting, University of Dayton
First Job: Working a 4-ton press to assemble fitting
What I'm Reading: Any mystery I can escape into.
My Philosophy: Do the best you can with what you have.
Interests: Most spare time is spent watching my daughter play soccer and making great friends on the sidelines.
Favorite Charities: American Red Cross; Susan G. Komen Foundation
Cathy Suever • Parker Hannifin
Group Vice President, Controller2009 award winner
For each of us, there are many different experiences and events we can point to when defining what drives success. Terms such as good mentors, having passion, building trust, and solid ethics, often come to mind. These could be considered pre-requisites for success. For me, the whole package of what drives success comes down to people.
I believe success is strongly influenced by respecting the people around us, whether they are customers, superiors, peers, the team working for us, or even people not directly involved. I grew up with seven siblings, so there were ten of us in a one-bathroom home. Respecting each other wasn’t an option, but rather a matter of survival. I learned at an early age that respecting the knowledge others have, and understanding how I could use that knowledge, would help me accomplish things faster and better, and could provide me great rewards.
This is one of the important homegrown lessons that I’ve taken into the workplace with me. Valuing what others can contribute, whether it’s the person delivering the mail, or the highest leader in the company, has taught me that respecting what they have to offer helps me even more than it helps them.
Everybody approaches a problem with different perspectives, backgrounds and opinions. Respecting what everyone has to contribute is a terrific learning opportunity. Don’t let that opportunity escape. Stop, listen, and learn from every person you meet. Appreciate their contribution and recognize them for their value, no matter who they are. Put yourself in their shoes and look at a situation from their standpoint. Practicing this in your professional life will not only help you grow, but will also demonstrate a respect that will drive rewards all around.
However, success doesn’t arrive by simply respecting the people you see every day. I also believe in the principle of exceeding others’ expectations—every day. Always go a step further. Make them notice the job you’ve done. Demonstrate you’re ready for the next level.
And you can’t do it alone. There are very few jobs, if any, that I could do without the support of the team working with me, for me, or above me. That includes support from home, from friends, and from many others we don’t even see. Respect and value what they do for you, and you could go a very long way.