Sometimes when we talk about heroes, we talk about someone we’ve never met. But in my career, one of my biggest heroes was a woman that I saw every single day. On the very first day of my first “real” agency job out of college, I met Kristin Pendleton. And over the next two years, I was constantly in awe of her. She was always poised, quick-witted, and kind despite all of the challenges that came with working in a male-dominated environment. She was the first real-life example I had of a strong woman who knew how to carve her own space in the workplace without ever compromising who she was. She’s gone west to Colorado, but I miss her all the time and I know she’s out there killing it.

Maybe this is cheesy, but my personal hero is one of my best friends, Erica. She’s thoughtful, creative, and hardworking. Being around her feels like being at home. I can be fully myself around her and no matter how long it has been since the last time we’ve spoken, I know we’ll have a fantastic time. For as long as I’ve known her, she’s had the same dream: have a big family and a successful career in health care. Over time, the smaller details have changed, but she’s constantly taking big steps to make that dream come true for her and her family. I admire how steadfast she’s been over the years because I personally have a difficult time deciding what to eat for breakfast.