If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can dream–and not make dreams your master;
If you can think–and not make thoughts your aim.
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue
‘Or walk with Kings–nor lose the common touch,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
And–which is more–you’ll be a man, my son!
I do not know if I turned into the man (or woman) my parents wanted me to be when they hung this Kipling poem on my bedroom wall, but I always found in this ode to integrity a guiding philosophy that I present at work in important ways.
Always see challenges as opportunities to climb to the next step. They make you grow faster, stronger, or better. Broaden your expertise, learn by doing, listen to others, and be solution oriented.
Find a role model who is inspiring, but act and think your way. Do not only rely on successful women. A man can also be a great source of inspiration!
Do not try to be perfect, you are not. It is difficult to be the best spouse, mother, and leader at the same time. It takes time to admit that priorities may differ over a lifetime and not to be ashamed of it.
Give more than you receive. It is your responsibility to make people in your team grow, as true success is about winning together.
Often step back from your position and always keep a good sense of humor. It will ease the pain.
I am lucky and proud I work at Coca-Cola Enterprises, which has diversity, respect, and integrity in its values. Working in a winning and inclusive culture helps standing by your values and transmitting them to the next generation.
At home, the Kipling poem now hangs on my sons’ wall. As mothers, it is our responsibility to educate our daughters, but equally importantly our sons, so they will help us build a more diverse working environment tomorrow.
What does it take to succeed and stay competitive in your position/field?
Agility is the ability to change position efficiently. It requires anticipation, speed, strength, endurance, balance, and coordination. I could not define better what it requires to stay competitive.
What advice would you give young women building/preparing for a career?
Education is key, not only to acquire technical skills, but also to build a solid network. The relationships you will establish right at the beginning of, or even before your career, will be more solid, honest, diverse, and rewarding than any you will further build once your career is successful.