Success Brings Greater Joy When Shared: Why Mentorship and Social Support Matter
By: Pamela Jones Harbour, Senior Vice President and Legal Officer, Global Member Compliance and Privacy, Herbalife Nutrition
I am who I am today thanks to my parents, who laid the foundation for everything I aspire for and strive to be. They instilled two things in me ever since I was a little girl: the love for knowledge and the drive to do my best in things that mattered.
My dad was especially encouraging about what I could achieve. He taught me to set high goals for myself and to follow what is dearest to me, because passion leads to success and success empowers individuals.
I recently went through my high school yearbook and found a phrase I wrote back then: “be it big, be it small, do it well or not at all.” It’s funny, but that maxim has driven my professional and personal path to this very day.
Combining Personal and Professional Milestones
I went to law school so that I could help others. Keeping my parents’ lessons in mind, I set high goals for myself. I served under four Attorneys General, worked at the New York State Department of Law for 14 years, and litigated in the Supreme Court of the United States.
Then, one day, a new opportunity came my way: I got the call for an interview to be a Commissioner of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). I was excited and elated.
But here’s the twist: I was six-weeks post-partum and my daughter was still breastfeeding. After much deliberation, I decided not to miss this opportunity. So, taking my daughter with me, we took the Amtrak train all the way to D.C. and it ended up being the best interview that I ever had.
I was honest, did my best by focusing on what I knew rather than fretting about what I didn’t know, and took pride in my motherhood, as a working, professional woman. And soon after I was selected as an FTC Commissioner, where I served for almost seven years.
Giving Back Through Mentoring
At Herbalife Nutrition, I found my professional home. The company’s ethos resonates with me: we always endeavor to do what’s right and we take responsibility and encourage personal agency. I currently lead a compliance team across 94 markets, developing and enhancing policies and infrastructure to ensure the effective education, training, and mentoring programs for Herbalife Nutrition independent distributors worldwide. I also lead the company’s global privacy and data security efforts.
I’ve found that Herbalife Nutrition is also a great place to nurture other people’s talents. I was recently honored by the American Bar Association for my work to promote a more racially and ethnically diverse legal profession. This recognition is humbling and motivates me to continue creating an inclusive environment in our workplace.
Now that my daughters are adults, I like to spend my days raising people up, becoming a mentor to the young women at the company. It’s very inspiring to see female colleagues thriving. Sometimes, all they need is a mentor: someone who can see something in them that maybe they don’t see in themselves.
Mentorship is about the ennoblement of leadership and the nurturing of talent. It just feels good to help someone, make them feel good about themselves, and empower them so they can go on and be great. I am convinced that success brings a greater joy when it’s not selfish, but shared.
Facing the Challenges and Finding a Support System
Balancing motherhood with a high-demanding career has not been easy. A working mother has two full-time professions. It reminds me of Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire. Fred Astaire was the great dancer in the old films, but Ginger Roger was doing all of his steps backwards and in heels and looking fabulous. That’s what it’s like to be a working mother.
I learned that if you want to excel as a mom and in your job, you have to be honest with yourself and find creative solutions. You have to forgive yourself and be truthful about the challenges. Find a support system, ask for help. Know that you’re not going to be perfect all the time, and your family will understand.
I know I wouldn’t be where I am today if I hadn’t had the support of my family, especially my three beautiful daughters. They inspire me to keep aiming high as a role model and to look for work that challenges and fulfills me.