1. Tell us about yourself
My name is Linda Taliaferro, and I would proudly describe myself as a Mother, and Vice President of Global Quality for Meritor and the Founder of The TEE - The Extra Effort a career advisory firm.
2. What was your first job and how did you get it?
My first job was a cashier role at K-Mart. My mother needed assistance with household expenses, so I applied, interviewed and got the position. I worked every day after school and on weekends. It wasn't long before I was promoted to the customer service desk and then to have my own department to manage!
3. How did you decide and get to your career today?
My mother had 7 siblings. All of them had dreams of going to college and having careers. However, due to them losing their parents early in life, one to heart disease and another to diabetes, they decided to focus on the youngest and assure that he had the chance to do so. Since my mom was the second oldest, he would visit her during college breaks. He attended Rutgers University and majored in ceramic engineering. I was in awe of him and wanted to be just like him. I too had a love for math and science. He would motivate me regularly during those visits and instilled in me that I could do and be whatever I wanted. He often told me to make sure that I had a seat at the table. He recommended the school to go to - Carnegie- Mellon. So, I went there. He assisted me in deciding which job offers to take. And once I started working, he would often either visit or give me advice on how to maneuver in the corporate world. He passed away from brain cancer before I got my seat at the table, but I am convinced that he had a plan in it!
4. What advice would you have given your younger self? Or what is the best career advice you have ever received?
Advice to my younger self would be to believe in yourself and perfection is not your friend. I had low self-esteem as a child and teen. I grew up in a home that had issues before it was broken. I was bullied. Therefore, I kept head down as a child, strived for perfection to not get in trouble. Head down, work hard, be good/perfect. That followed me into my early career and slowed down significantly. The best advice I have received - working hard is not enough. It's the price of entry. If you want to move up, make sure that they like you.
5. In 5 years, where do you hope to be professionally and personally
In 5 years, professionally I hope to have significantly grown The TEE by becoming a notable speaker, blogger, presenter, advisor, etc. Hold an SVP or EVP position. And at least 2 for-profit company board seats. Personally, have increased vacations with my hubby, continuing to enjoy our families and have made a meaningful impact on the people's lives that I have serviced or touched in some fashion.
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