Opportunities come from Different Directions in Life by Marie-Flore Saint Fleur

The daughter of Haitian immigrants, I got the opportunity to  move to the US at a young age, barely speaking English, worked hard to graduate high school, then college and then joining the US Army. My parents have always taught my siblings and I to never let a good opportunity go by. Recognize when one is presented to you, even when it sometimes comes in disguise. Their wish for us was to graduate college and to take advantage of all given opportunities.

 When I was getting off of active duty from the US Army, where I have also earned my Master’s degree in Quality Systems Management with hope landing my first corporate job in manufacturing. The manufacturing companies that I interviewed with  did not extend me an offer, but a young manager from a pharmaceutical company felt strongly about hiring me, and extended me an offer as a pharmaceutical sales associate.  Although sales was not my first career choice, I saw it as an opportunity and accepted the offer.

I share this story to encourage women and others to never shy away from a presented opportunity. It may not always present itself in the shape you envisioned it, but it is important to recognize it when it is presented. Had I not accepted the sales role with the Pharmaceutical company, I would not have been where I am in my career today. That was my first step in a long career in sales. After working in the pharmaceutical sector for 7 years, I needed a change in pace due to becoming a mother. A colleague from another pharmaceutical company passed my resume to someone, who later referred me for a sales role at a technology company. That opportunity allowed me to land my first sales job in the technology sector which fueled my career. Taking advantage of sales opportunities even when I was not fully onboard turned out to be some of the best career choices I’ve made in my life, beside joining the military. I have shared my knowledge and experience with  others to help them recognize opportunities or grow their career and it is one of the most important thing one can do in life is help others.

Remember the people who made it all possible in your career, and work on paying-it-forward. Make room to help and mentor others to reach their goals. Always remember that it is not about where or when your journey starts, but it is about where you finish. It is never too late to start over and you do not have to do it alone.

Flore has several book recommendations:

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