When I was named Chief Financial Officer with an “Interim” tag in front of the title, it was both a great challenge and a great opportunity. I had prepared for years with the goal of becoming a CFO, but when I looked at the criteria in the written description for the CFO position, I understood why our CEO and chairman, Mark Rohr, chose to make me interim rather than full CFO. I came to Celanese with a broad variety of experiences and skill sets in finance and, since 2010, I had had direct ownership of most of the finance and shared services functions at Celanese. But while I had accumulated a great deal of finance experience—and that is what put me in the running for the job—it was clear that I was missing other types of experience. The external search criteria called for candidates who had deep engagement with the business and experience leading cross-company initiatives. My experience in these areas was limited because I’d spent my career playing mostly in the finance sandbox.
Recently I joined a yoga studio for more exercise and a peaceful place to settle my busy brain. For anyone considering yoga, I highly recommend it. Not only is it a challenging whole-body workout – it encourages focus and presence in the moment. Something I’m striving for.
What I didn’t expect from yoga was getting jazzed about giving and receiving feedback.
If you’ve never tried yoga, here are the basics. Each class begins in a quiet room – generally the lights are off and everyone lies down on a mat or sits still – there is no talking. In this calm atmosphere minds are cleared of the events of the day and “intentions” are set for the class. This means simply deciding what to achieve in this hour.
On Friday, December 4, my husband, Marcus, and I traveled from Dallas to Memphis for my first marathon. We arrived at the Cook Convention Center and met up with family to check-in prior and enjoy the benefits of the expo. While standing in line, workers rang cow bells and cheered. I felt proud when they announced that I had raised $9,000 for St. Jude. I was handed bib number 782 with GoGirlGo printed on it, and in less than 24 hours, the race would be under way.
Saturday morning was cold, but the sun was shining. With our family, Marcus and I made our way to the start line. The music was loud and my excitement grew. At 8:00 am the race began and corrals were released at 2-minute intervals. We were sent off by the cheers of our family and others lining the streets in support of the St. Jude Marathon.
It was time to put all of my effort and training (70 running days and 356 miles) to the test and enjoy the experience of running a marathon. Running for a purpose took on a new meaning for me when the route took us through the St. Jude campus and children lined the route and cheered us on. One couple came prepared with silver beads and as they passed each child, they hung a strand around their neck. It was an emotional experience I will not forget.
Earlier this year, we had record rainfall in the local area. The generous showers may have been a welcome sight to budding spring flowers, but not so much for area drivers as it flooded major roadways for days at a time. One of the impacted roads happened to be the one I take to work each day. Great – now what do I do? I knew I had a destination and I was forced to find another route to get there.
I had a few options, and because the road was closed for about a week, I think I must have tried them all. I was desperately seeking the route that would get me to work or home in the shortest amount of time with the least amount of hassle. One of my phone’s navigation apps would give me optional routes to my destination based on current traffic patterns. While each route would get me to my destination within a few minutes of each other, they would also take me on completely different roads. One route took me to an area I’d never driven through before. It wasn’t very far at all from where I live, and yet I discovered places so close to me that I never knew existed – like a nice park or popular restaurant. The next day I tried another route that took me WAY out of the way…taking a lot longer than it really should have but I got there eventually. Several times, my smooth talking driving companion (the system calls her “Jane”) would instruct me to take a turn, obviously unaware that the road she was leading me to was closed. When that happened, I ignored her advice and took another direction that I knew was better. I hoped she would quickly get the hint and create a new route for me: “Recalculating,” said Jane.
Online shopping has become the preferred method of many holiday shoppers. With the introduction of Cyber Monday, retailers are providing deep discounts and easy ways for shoppers to find the perfect gift for friends and family. Since I’ve started my role in IT Security, I’ve begun to look at online safety from a different perspective. We often think of identity theft and Internet security as some distant thought, but your information (and in some extreme cases, your financial livelihood) can be compromised with a single click.