Women’s History Month: Debra Crafter shares the best advice she ever received
Q: Who has been an important mentor for you and how did they impact your career?
A: I had an informal mentor many years ago when I was working as a contract administrator in the airline industry. She was an African-American woman who’d been in the industry many years, but saw something in me that made her take an interest in my career growth. She encouraged me to apply for a managerial position that was outside of the business silo in which I was working. Despite my lack of knowledge about that market, I trusted her judgement, applied for the position and got it!
The experience taught me to never be afraid to go for the things you want, even if it’s not something you think is the best fit for you. You never know where your blessing lies, whether it’s in a job or just connecting with someone who was placed in your path to help you get to the next stop in your life journey. I try to be that same voice of encouragement to young people with whom I interact and “pay it forward” by encouraging them to go for it if it’s their heart’s desire.
Q: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
A: “Never be too proud or too afraid to ask for help.” None of us know everything or have all the answers to a situation or problem. Sometimes as women we think that if we don’t know something, we’ll be perceived as in over our heads or worse, incompetent. We all need a hand from time to time and there’s nothing wrong with asking someone you think can help you for their assistance. You may be surprised how much they’re willing to help and you may gain an ally in the process.
Q: Who do you look up to and why?
A: I look up to my mom. Sadly, I lost her last year, but still feel her influence in my life. She was positive, gregarious, strong and outspoken, but also loving and kind. She was hard working and supportive and was anchored by her faith when life threw her curve balls. I try to emulate her and hope I can have as positive an impact on the lives of those I encounter as she did.
Q: When needing a break from it all, what helps you escape?
A: I’m sure everybody’s different, but for me spending time with friends and family always centers me mentally and emotionally. And there’s always lots of laughter, which makes all of us feel good.
Q: How do you practice self-care?
A: Regular manicures and pedicures give me some quiet time and that little bit of relaxation we all need. I also enjoy a good pampering day that includes a massage and facial. I’m hoping to get back into water aerobics soon too.