By: Cheryl Nex

I was recently asked what I would go back and tell my 20-something year old self. Here it goes.

I joined EP Canada (well, now EP!) in the dark ages: 1989.

I was the bookkeeper for a rental equipment yard. One evening, a woman came tearing up our driveway needing a carpet cleaner. Evidently, her boyfriend had fired a gun at her parent’s fish tank. True story! Some of you may know her – Ms. Jackie Wechselberger; current production accountant on the CBS production of Zoo. I was closing up shop, but wanted to be helpful and rented her the piece of equipment.

The next day Jackie came back and offered me a job. Turns out, she worked in payroll for TVD Televector and was leaving to work on MacGyver. I learned early on the benefit of going above and beyond.

So I started as a junior payroll clerk—doing her remittances that were four months behind! I worked my way up to paymaster, and then moved onto post-production accounting. After spending several years in Support—working on what I think was Vista 1.72, I transitioned into Finance, which led to my becoming General Manager.

Nobody ever told me “you can’t.” I had mentors who believed in me (find a mentor!). I took lots of initiative and tried to fill gaps, frequently finding solutions to problems that nobody knew previously existed. I took risks, and learned and grew.

After spending two-and-a-half years getting my MBA while working full-time, I set my sights on becoming President and CEO, attaining my current position in 2006.

My advice to my 20-something year old self (and all professional women): The glass ceiling is made of breakable glass, but don’t put all your energy into looking for a hammer to smash it. Rather, seek diverse opportunities, and work really hard.

It took lots of determination and really hard work to get where I am—I know I’m repeating myself but it’s true! I made sacrifices and created my own path. I earned my spot. You will too.

Cheryl Nex is the President of EP Canada. Please visit their website at www.epcanada.com.