In late 2017, a friend and mentor passed away suddenly. At the time, he was serving as our CEO, which deepened the loss. Not long after, our board of directors asked me to fill his shoes and take the CEO post—an honor that was absolutely humbling.

While becoming a CEO was one of my career goals, I wasn’t expecting it to happen under these circumstances—nor so early in my career. Like all challenges in my life, I leaned in, tapped my network for support and embraced the challenge.As a first time CEO, I knew there would be a tremendous amount to learn, high pressure, mistakes, accomplishments and important decisions.

I knew the company would look to me for leadership, vision, guidance and help in making Centage a great place to grow their careers.

I took time to reflect on how I wanted to lead the company. In an age of rapid change and emerging technologies, I obviously want to ensure my company was at the cutting edge of innovation and generating value for our customers, partners and employees.

Achieving these goals would require deep cross-functional collaboration, innovation and a culture that drove excellence.

I’ve been fortunate to have the opportunity to learn from amazing mentors and leaders through the years. I try to pass along that knowledge to others, so in an effort to help other future CEOs, here are a few lessons I’ve learned in my first year as a CEO.

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