As a state advisor for the Future Business Leaders of America, Mary Jane Thomas helps the next generation of professional leaders find their voices and discover their strengths. She has been working in education for nearly forty years, and her devotion to her students is a true inspiration. We sat down with the muse that inspired our Mary pencil skirt as we have many times before, to seek her wisdom on work ethic and success with our Ameliora Muse questionnaire.
Can you tell us about a mentor figure that has played a significant role in your life? What did they teach you?
My parents and grandparents demonstrated a work ethic that I have followed throughout my life: show up, do your best, enjoy what you do! I also had some wonderful teachers who taught me far more than the subject matter at hand; they modeled how to be an effective teacher.
What was your first job and what did you learn from it?
My first job was selling socks and hosiery at a store called Rolane Sales while I was in high school. I was a cashier and a stocker, serving customers in Greensboro, NC. There I learned to count change, stock items when needed, answer customer questions, and work with others.
What is your view on failure?
I don't have one! You keep putting one foot in front of the other!
How did you know when you had found your ideal career path?
I took typing and other business courses in high school and I enjoyed each and every one of them. I knew in high school I wanted to do something in business, but it was my dad that convinced me to get my Business Education degree.
What does the term 'job satisfaction' mean to you?
Job satisfaction means you never work a day of your life!
What advice do you give other women in your field?
I work with young ladies on the NC FBLA State Officer teams. I encourage them to be poised, polished and professional in their personal and professional lives!
What is your personal definition of success?
Seeing the results of your own personal effort.