Barbara Cummings, first African-American female U.S. Consul General to Peru and Italy as well as the first female U.S. Consul in Albania
"The best career advice I received from a senior Foreign Service officer colleague was to 'work for myself.' By that, she meant that I needed to be the only one really satisfied with the job that I was doing. It was something that stuck with me throughout my Foreign Service career and was not always easy to remember in the multi-layered bureaucracy I had to navigate. Rather than trying to adapt to the constantly changing landscape in a Foreign Service career where officers change countries, jobs, and supervisors every two to three years, I found that following my own compass led to success and caused a lot less emotional turmoil. Fortunately, my bosses liked the work that I did. This advice really made all the difference and I think was the key element in my rising quickly in the Service."