By Amadou Yattassaye
Vice President, Internal Audit, Ethics & Compliance and Chief Compliance Officer, WellPoint, Inc.

As a native of Timbuktu in the West African nation of Mali, I came to this country with family values of excellence instilled in me. The fact that I barely spoke English when I arrived in the early ‘90s did not preclude me from expressing my long-term goal of becoming an executive in corporate America and dispelling the myth that an immigrant or a minority could not achieve such levels of success. I was particularly impressed at how open everyone was to helping me reach my goals.

I truly believe that this country is filled with an abundance of support and resources that one can access to help achieve their goals (perhaps this is why as a nation we are generous in our global support as well). Ultimately, it is up to each individual to define their dreams and pursue their own sense of excellence. At various stages of my career, I have relied on the wisdom of mentors to help provide added guidance and support. But key to a successful mentoring relationship is also the desire to be proactive with their teachings and the guidance they provide.

Another ideal that I think helps shape the American Dream is equity and fairness. While many opportunities may be equally available to all, progress is achieved when individual talents and contributions are highlighted and recognized. Recognition is a wonderful way to showcase that achievement and success are possible. For those of us who are immigrants, celebrating these success stories also provides motivation and encouragement that help us to aspire to achieve greatness. PDJ