I first learned about excellence from my mother. A strong woman with unrelenting values, she raised me to show pride in my work by never accepting mediocrity. Initially focusing on perfection, I focused on creating work which was flawless and free from error. I soon learned that this approach was both unrealistic and unhealthy. Most importantly, it did not yield results. By focusing on excellence instead of perfection, I remained committed to my work and transformed my challenges into opportunities for learning. I used this model to reach all of my academic and professional goals including my current position as a Director for a large social service agency in New Jersey.