We Can Build Each Other Up and It Can Change Us Forever
Melissa called me one day and told me there was a job opportunity I’d be a good fit for. She knew my former boss and that I had an interest in Learning & Development. When she called, I told her I didn’t have experience in that field, and I’ll never forget her response. She said, “I can teach you about learning & development, but you have something I can’t teach you, a deep knowledge of how our business works.”
She offered me the job and became my first female mentor. She taught me everything I needed to know from scratch. She was the first professional woman to see the possibility within me and was willing to teach me. I didn’t have a lot of that growing up. I am forever grateful to her for believing in me and giving me the tools I needed.
I learned about my passion for learning and development. Melissa helped me acquire the technical skills for my role. She taught me how to assess a group’s needs; she helped me design my first leadership program, manage a budget, and work with external providers to augment my skill gaps.
There was never any competition between us. This is a huge deal. We worked in a Wall Street securities firm where very few women were in leadership and professional roles. Melissa would bring me to meetings and introduce me by saying things like, “We have exactly the right person for this project, and she’s sitting in this room. Let me introduce you to Terri.” She gave me this kind of introduction on more than one occasion. I remember how valued I felt by her.
This experience taught me not to fear taking on unfamiliar responsibilities and to follow my heart’s desires.
Years later, Melissa recruited me to join her at another company. This time I didn’t join the group as a newbie but as a professional colleague and a Vice President.
Melissa came into my professional life 25 years ago. Since then, my experience in this field has grown in many ways. I held VP roles at several Fortune 100 companies, and today my career continues to morph and evolve in new and creative ways.
More than all the opportunities and skills Melissa taught me, most of all, she taught me the difference we can make in another woman’s life when they least expect it.
Who are the women who have helped you in your career? How are you paying it forward?