What’s Your Definition of ‘Success’?
Mar 6, 2019
Vice President - Tax

This week, I was honored to share the stage with some outstanding female business leaders at the 2019 Akron-Canton Women in Leadership Symposium. During the course of the discussion, each panelist shared the journey she took to achieve her goals.

I realized that all of us had a different definition of success—and that’s okay. For some, success is landing a job in the C-suite or running their own company. For others, it’s having a great work-life balance or achieving a certain salary. However you define success, here are five things you can do to help achieve it:

  1. Lean on your support system at home. It’s tremendously important to have your partner and family on board with your personal aspirations. After all, they’re your teammates and they’re also looking for their own success in life. Take time to make sure your game plan works for them and vice versa.
  2. Don’t be afraid to ask your organization for what you need. It’s not all about working harder and longer. Remember that the organization you work for benefits just as much from your personal success as you do. Speak up and ask for the support you need to accomplish your goals.
  3. Collaborate. Being successful doesn’t mean you have to know everything. You might not even be the smartest person in the room. Successful people surround themselves with people who complement their skillsets and are superb at working with others to achieve common goals.
  4. Challenge yourself. Get out of your comfort zone and aim higher. That’s what I did. I was head of tax at my last company and left after 19 years to take on the global tax function at Timken. It was a challenging time to make the change, considering tax reform was enacted a few months after I made the switch. It’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made and the reason I’m here today.
  5. Broaden your skills. While you always want to keep improving at your core competency, it’s important to hone your leadership, communication and visionary skills as well. Being good at these leadership trademarks will increase your chances for success beyond your discipline and quite possibly land you a role in the C-suite.

Wherever you are in your career and personal journey, remember that you’re trying to achieve your definition of success, not someone else’s. Also, understand that priorities change and so, too, might your definition of success. That’s OK. Embrace whatever success means to you at this very moment and keep moving forward.


Teri Wilson serves as Vice President - Tax of The Timken Company.

Named to this position in 2017, Wilson leads the Company’s global tax function, including customs and trade compliance. She is responsible for all areas of global tax including financial reporting for taxes, timely and accurate submission of tax filings in all jurisdictions, effective tax rate management, cash repatriation, tax controversy, tax compliance and transfer pricing.

She also is responsible for strategic tax planning initiatives related to the Company’s business operations to look for ways reduce the Company’s effective tax rate, cash taxes and customs fees and duties; and to optimize the Company’s legal structure in a tax efficient manner for acquisitions, mergers, divestitures and restructuring opportunities.