If there's one lesson Cristina Gallo-Aquino has learnedthroughout her career, it's the importance of nurturingrelationships with supervisors, colleagues, and staff. In fact, shecredits good relationships with helping her arrive quickly at hercurrent position as controller and vice president at $5.1 billionRyder System at age 37.

“Because of my willingness to go the extra mile and help outeverybody, whether I considered it in my job description or not,”Gallo-Aquino says, “I built very good relationships, and all theseother people within other departments realized the value I wasbringing to the position.”

As Gallo-Aquino's responsibilities, and her team, have grown,she has come up with creative ways to keep good vibes alive. Teammembers pass around small stuffed animals (dubbed “interns”) as areward for “going the extra mile” for a colleague. Before the toyis passed on to a next deserving colleague, team members jot down anote describing a lesson the “intern” learned while it stayed ontheir desk and place it in the toy's box. Every quarter, the notesare read aloud at a staff meeting.”

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