June L. Rokoff, senior vice president at the Lotus Development Corporation, once used a unique visual aid in a speech at Bentley College in Waltham, Massachusetts.
“A couple of years ago,” she told the students, “when I was named to the position I have now, my husband David took his collection of my old business cards and had them framed.” She held up the framed cards for all to see and continued, “Here it is – I keep it hanging in my office. When I look at it, I think of two people.
“One is my 10th-grade math teacher, who told me I should probably give up on math, or my career relating to math, because I was no good in geometry.
“The other is a boss I had in my second job, when I was 23 years old. He told me I’d gone about as far as I could go in the computer industry. He said I should just accept the fact that my career had “plateaued” and quit trying to get ahead.
“So if any of you see my old math teacher or my old boss, would you let them know that today I have 1,200 people working for me? And that most of them are very good in math?”