Members of the selection committee:

I have come a long way from my working class roots. My father supervised the night shift. Even though I was a girl, my father trusted me to keep tabs on my mother when he was at work. So, from a young age, I learned people management. Those early experiences put me on the path to being the successful manager I am now. I think you will agree that my qualifications warrant promotion to the vacant director position.

Today, under my management, my department has the best attendance record in the company. I have systems to monitor employee arrivals, departures, vacations, holidays, breaks, sick time, and personal time away from work. My people meet my expectations. When they do slip, I make them aware that excessive absences can lead to termination. I do consider individual circumstances, of course. When Vicki was away from work due a health problem, I suspected that she was taking more time off than her treatment schedule allowed. How could I be absolutely sure she went to her clinic? One day, after a supposed chemotherapy session, she was 10 minutes late. I told her I was sorry about her illness, but gently reminded her that she has an important job here and timeliness is essential.

A change of routine can be good for a team and I schedule a breakfast meeting once a month. I meet my people at a restaurant that is close to my house. If I am late, they know to order me Special Number 3. Some of my people eat light; I suppose they are trying to stretch their budgets until payday. For several weeks in a row, Vicki had only herbal tea. After breakfast, we stay at the table and have our department meeting. I remember the day Vicki was sitting next to Jan, who was in charge of writing the annual department report. When it came time for each person to give status updates, Jan simply said that the project was on schedule. Well, good management requires validation. I asked a few probing questions. Are you using the revised schedule, the one I corrected? What about content?? Are you going to fix that bar chart that was so confusing last year? Do you remember that a blue cover looks terrible against the brown-and-red company logo? I think Jan got my message, especially after she saw that several people at other tables were looking directly over at our group.

Sometimes I have had to lead my team through difficult adjustments. One Monday morning, I arrived at the office and saw that a voice mail had arrived at 6 a.m. When I listened to the message after attending to several important matters, I was taken aback to learn that the message was from Vicki’s mother saying that Vicki had passed away over the week-end. Of course, my first job was to keep my remaining team members together and functioning. I made a plan for covering Vicki’s duties. The day of the funeral, one person had to stay back to answer the phones, but I drove the others in my Lexus. A previous commitment delayed me, but we would have made it to the service on time if Jan hadn’t told me to turn right into the parking lot instead of left. I was pleased that the bouquet I had sent was the biggest one in the church. I had the card signed, “From Marion Rudolf, Manager, and her team.” I think it is important to acknowledge the entire group at times like these.