Education: BS, Management, Tulane University; MBA, Accounting, Texas Christian University

First Job: Auditor, Deloitte and Touche; Summers throughout college: Secretarial work

What I'm Reading: The Associate, by John Grisham

My Philosophy: Try to make a personal connection with the people that you meet on a daily basis. More than just saying hello, engage the person in a conversation; you never know what you will learn!

Family: Married to Stephen; one daughter, Catherine.

Interests: Taking time to decompress and relax with family, either by playing golf or watching volleyball.

Favorite Charities: Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure

Lorna Donatone 

President, School Services

award winner

Throughout my career I have really pushed myself to stay open-minded about my career path and how I could leverage my experience. Women tend to underestimate their experience and it is very important to continually challenge yourself to go after the opportunities that appeal to you, regardless of whether you meet 100% of the requirements for the position. In order to do this you need to be completely self-aware of your strengths and weaknesses as you raise your hand for various opportunities. Having this self-awareness will help you to best position and leverage your strengths in a way that will help to mitigate any skill gaps or weaknesses.

It is also important to set the widest view possible of the options you will pursue as you progress through your career. You can really limit yourself if you are chasing a title. Make your aspirations known, and pursue the jobs, not just the titles, that will help you to achieve your goals. While I have advanced through my career by following a typical progression in finance, I did so by working in a variety of industries, including public and general accounting, high tech, airline, banking, and services. This broad exposure to multiple industries has helped me to expand my thinking and my skill-set, and prepared me to make the move from finance into operations.

One of the best strategies that I have found for my career advancement was making sure that I was doing a very good job in my current role. While it is important to make your aspirations known and to actively pursue opportunities, it is equally critical that you are high-performing in your current position.

The last key strategy that I will share with you is the importance of having a mentor throughout your career. No matter how far you advance, a mentor is critical for your continued success. Throughout my career I have had both formal and informal mentors who have helped me to challenge my ideas and have kept me from getting stale in my thinking. Most recently I have set up a reverse mentoring relationship with a former mentee of mine and I am looking forward to all that I will learn from my newest mentor.