By Elizabeth A. Campbell
Partner and Chief Diversity Officer, Andrews Kurth LLP

Teams take many forms. My earliest memories are of my family, especially my siblings. I am the oldest of four and admittedly possess several stereotypes associated with the oldest—e.g., bossy and controlling. I knew my place; I knew my role. I was held responsible and accountable for virtually everything my team (of siblings) did.

As I grew older, my love of baseball led me to play competitive softball—which I still do today. In my heyday, I played first base and cherished my role as a leader on the infield. I had to know and communicate the number of outs, the batter’s count, and where the play was (at first, or at second then first, etc.). I knew my role and took ownership of my responsibilities every time I took the field.

Professionally, I also value my relationship to a team. It is often the first thing I assess when taking on a new assignment: what is my role vis-a-vis my fellow co-workers and clients. I ascertain my role, my specific responsibilities and associated expectations, and then I own it.

Every successful team is made up of role players and I make every effort to be a great role player: the one who accepts her role on a team and then excels at it. I willingly put in the time to improve my performance and, consequently, that of my team mates. For the old saying is true: any team is only as strong as its weakest link. I never want to be that person. Indeed, by working together as a team and owning our individual roles, we can maximize our performance.
As it is with my performance on my Michigan alumni softball team, so it is with my professional engagements—I suit up, ready to play, and I own my role!