This weeks Q & A is with Celia Pronto, Marketing and E-Commerce Director, Ford Retail Group, United Kingdom
1. What was a pivotal moment of reinvention for you?
Like many professional women out there, the early years of my career were spent growing my skill sets through education and work experience to get ahead.
However, in 2010, following a year of personal tragedies in my family, I realized that I had reached the point where I had more to give – of myself, my experience and my ability to help others.
This new-found appreciation that every day is a gift has given me the confidence to participate in inspiring new areas like growing the pipeline of female talent, getting involved in initiatives to actively drive forward the issue of the under-representation of women at the top of corporate UK, championing my organization’s Corporate Social Responsibility strategy and agenda; and taking on international speaking engagements.
2. Who has been a valuable mentor or sponsor?
My father, who always championed my education, independence and ambition. He always expected me to be the best, but also accepted me just the way I am.
3. What is your biggest goal right now?
To serve as a role model for younger females, and inspire them to push themselves forward and be all they can be – no matter what the obstacles or challenges in their way.
4. How do you unplug?
It has taken me a while to figure out how to unplug, as I generally prefer to be busy all the time. However, during the past few years I have learnt the value of exercise in helping me to unplug. Wherever possible I try to make time for exercise three times a week. More recently, I have taken up mindful meditation, as well as tapping – which are proving invaluable in bringing perspective and balance.
5. What challenge / achievement are you most proud of?
Despite being born in a country which shortly after my birth experienced a 19-year civil war that subsequently saw my family lose everything, I am proud that this has never held me back from being ambitious and successful. Where you come from does not determine who you are, that is up to you.
6. What was the last business book you read?
American Icon: Alan Mulally and the Fight to Save Ford Motor Company
7. What cause do you most want to advance?
Giving females the confidence to push themselves forward, and creating the right corporate cultures to ensure they are able to continue contributing productively to organisations across all levels of business.
8. What is the best piece of advice you ever received?
You can’t control other people’s behavior, you only ever control your own reaction and behavior.
9. What is your “keep me going” quote?
When you were made a leader, you weren’t given a crown, you were given the responsibility to bring out the best in others – Jack Welch
10. Who on the list of 2013 Honorees would you like to meet?
Farah Mohamed: Founder & CEO, G(irls)20
You can read Celia’s full #40over40 profile here