What Do You Want to be Known For?

The first time she called me for some career advice, Van Ton-Quinlivan was finishing a one-year stint as the chief of staff to the chairman of one of the largest utilities in the United States. As we sat down that weekend at the kitchen table in her Bay Area home, Van laid out a few professional options she was considering. We agreed that one of them clearly gave her an opportunity to make a lasting impact in an arena that really mattered to her: workforce development.

That afternoon we created a detailed plan, and over the next four years I served as Van's advisor and sounding board as she advanced from being the founding director of workforce development at her company to testifying in front of ...

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