My career journey has enabled me to focus on connecting people, places, and businesses as well as be a part of growing the world’s economy. When I graduated from college during the 1970s, it was cool to work at the airport and every college graduate was looking for a jet-setting career. In 1979, I jumped at the chance to work at a new company called Federal Express whose mission was to connect the world overnight.
I started on the bottom rung of FedExand wore many hats throughout the day. I had the opportunity to load and unload a Falcon airplane, handle the receipt and distribution of shipments to walk-in customers, work on the phones as a customer service rep, and serve as a dispatcher. The work was labor intensive, but team-supported and full of life and excitement. We all understood and lived by the FedEx slogan: “Absolutely, positively overnight!”
The diversity of my experience enabled me to quickly move into management in 1982, and I continued wearing many hats across company divisions, including roles in human resources, education, sales, ground operations and finally, my passion — customer service strategic planning and customer service operations.
Today, I have the honor of leading a team of 6,000 people engaged in customer service activities for FedEx across 35 locations working 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
When I think about the steps I took to get here and what I have learned as a female leader in a traditionally male-dominated career path, I think about some of the simple principles found in the book of Proverbs.
The Principle of Order
You should have a vision and a detailed plan to accomplish that vision for both personal and professional goals. Stay organized in your approach to accomplishing those goals. Keep a clear head and recognize that knowledge and skills build upon themselves; there is a method to moving up. Build a plan and work the plan. Do not move somewhere until you are ready.