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Editor's Note: This post is part of our "Bookmarked" series, where we ask some of our favorite HR experts, analysts and business professionals to answer questions about their career, life and aspirations for the future. Be sure to bookmark it for next month!

Kat Cole, COO and President, North America at FOCUS Brands, is known as many things: an executive leader, business advisor, speaker, facilitator, board member and volunteer. You may even recognize her as the keynote speaker at this year's Convergence conference!

Having started her career as a Hooters waitress to help support her single-mother and worked her way up through the corporate ladder, Cole knows what it means to work hard, make mistakes and learn at an incredible pace.

Here, Cole shares how her past influences her present, what work-life balance really looks like and why every interaction with her peers has the potential to be a "mentoring moment".

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