SVP, General Counsel, Secretary, Boehringer Ingelheim, USA
What do you consider your greatest strength, and how do you think it benefits your business?
I think one of my greatest strengths is that I realize that I have not gotten where I am in my career alone. I have benefitted, and continue to benefit, from strong role models, mentors, and sponsors who have taken an interest in me and my career. Over time, these individuals have helped to develop both my technical and leadership skills, and have helped me climb the career ladder. This benefits my business, because I am willing and, in fact, eager, to help develop the skills of others in our organization in the same ways I have been developed. A happy, motivated workforce of strong leaders who are experts in their field, and who feel the company is invested in their development, benefits the company in numerous ways.
What do you think is the greatest issue or dilemma facing the African American community today?
There has been a significant amount of progress in the African American community over the years, but unfortunately there are still many issues facing us. One of the challenges we face is that we don’t always have the same access to educational opportunities as others. This can manifest itself in many ways, including the quality of our education or the lack of financial means to fund higher education. Given how important education is to our progress individually and as a people, the societal, economic, and professional gaps we experience will continue to exist as long as the educational disparities exist.
What advice would you give to someone just beginning his or her career?
I would tell them to not be afraid to take risks in their career. In order to grow and develop, you have to be comfortable with change. Change is difficult, but so rewarding in the long run. The people who are willing to take on new roles and stretch assignments regardless of whether they feel completely qualified for them are the people that tend to do really well in their careers.
What is your favorite quote, and why?
Growing up, and even now, my mother would always say, “It’s never right to do wrong.” That’s definitely one of my favorite quotes because it’s a tenet to live by, both personally and professionally. As a lawyer, a leader of a team of legal professionals, and as a leader in the company, it’s so important to act ethically. Without that, you lose credibility, trust, and respect. It can be easy to cut corners or bend the rules, but it’s not right and, in the long run, it’s not worth it.